Many Lives: Picture Frames in Context

Empty art frame with red designs on gold background

Italian Tabernacle Frame, 1600s, tortoiseshell, bone or ivory and wood.  Gift from a private collector (94/994). 

FREE Event

@ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

@ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Many Lives: Picture Frames in Context

Wednesday, May 1, and Thursday, May 2, 2024

This online conference on the history and conservation of frames is co-organized by the museum’s curatorial and conservation departments to promote inter- and multi-disciplinary dialogue. The AGO is home to an important collection of historic frames, and a project is currently underway at AGO to catalogue and conserve this collection to make the collection more accessible for study and use. In light of this project, the symposium aims to present current research that contextualizes frames in their many incarnations, including research on frame makers, framing traditions, frames’ afterlives, frame collections, pairings of frames to paintings, artists’ frames, the commercial history of framing, and related topics.

Keynote lectures will be delivered by Lynn Roberts, acclaimed frame historian and publisher of The Frame Blog, and Hubert Baija, recently-retired longtime conservator of frames at the Rijksmuseum.

Speakers on Day 1 (May 1, 2024):

8:00-8:45 AM EST / 5:00-5:45 PDT / 1:00 – 1:45 PM GMT / 2:00 – 2:45 PM GMT+1 Welcome and Introduction to the Frames Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario

  • 8:45-9:30 AM EST / 5:45-6:30 PDT / 1:45 – 2:30 PM GMT / 2:45 – 3:30 PM GMT+1 Opening Keynote Address: Lynn Roberts (30 minute talk with 15 minutes for questions)

9:30-11:10 AM EST / 6:30-8:00 AM PDT / 2:30-4:10 PM GMT / 3:30-5:10 GMT+1 Morning Session:

  • Martin Hanssen [Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena]: “The Bonn Diptych and Its Frame, c. 1485. Technical Investigations Into an Unusual Devotional Object
  • Philippe Avila [Independent Objects Conservator, New York]
  • Jesús Jiménez Peces [Complutense University, Madrid]: “The problem of originality and documentation in Spanish frames of the 17th century”
  • Marco Bei [Scuola Normale Superiore]: “What really is a Maratta frame?”
  • Federica Gigante [University of Cambridge]: “Venetian Fifteenth-Century Frames with Islamic Bookbinding Motifs”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Adam Harris Levine

Break Ten Minutes

11:20 AM – 1:00 PM EST / 8:20AM-10:00AM PDT / 4:20–6:00 PM GMT / 5:20-7:00 PM GMT+1 Midday Session:

  • Gerry Alabone [National Trust, England]: “Mary Ashfield: seventeenth-century London framemaker”
  • Charlotte Jones [City and Guilds of London Art School]: “An investigation into forgotten seventeenth-century English gilding techniques based on fats, oils, and clay”
  • Géraldine Bidault [Musee national du Chateau de Versailles]: “Notable bordures of the 18th century from the Versailles Palace”
  • Marie Dubost [Freelance Conservator, France]: “La Reparure in Western Europe”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Michael Gregory

Half-Hour Break: 1:00-1:30 PM EST / 10AM-10:30 AM PDT / 6:00-6:30 PM GMT / 7:00-7:30 PM GMT+1

1:30-3:30 PM EST / 10:30AM-12:30PM PDT / 6:30-8:30 PM GMT / 7:30-9:30 PM GMT+1 Afternoon Session:

  • Cynthia Moyer [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York]: “A Neoclassical French frame at the Met: Recovery and Discovery”
  • Genevieve Tobin [National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC]: “Exploring Gel-Like Materials and Solvent-Loaded Elastomers for Cleaning Gilded Picture Frames: Current and Prospective Research”
  • Rosario I Granados [Blanton Museum of Art]Art]: “Golden Crests. Frame-making in Venezuela in times of political change, 1750-1830”
  • Philippe Avila [Independent Objects Conservator, New York]: “From East to West: Lacquer and lacquered frames in the time of discoveries.”
  • Anita Gower [Australian National University]: “Reframing the Past: Unveiling how frame makers shaped Australia’s colonial art ecosystem”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Julia Campbell-Such

Speakers on Day 2 (May 2, 2024):

8:00-9:40 AM EST / 5:00 – 6:40 PDT / 1:00-2:40PM GMT / 2:00-3:40 GMT+1
Morning Session:

  • Adrian Moore [Tate Britain]: “Aes[ethics] and Frame Conservation at Tate”
  • Flavia Crisciotti [Technical University Munich]: “Frameless: Veronese and Bellini on Display, 1930-1950”
  • Robert Knöll and Paul Mellenthin [University of Tubingen]: “Reframing the Picture Frame”
  • Julia Vázquez [Blblioteca Hertziana]: “What’s in a Re-Frame?”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Lisa Koenigsberg

Break Ten Minutes

9:50-11:30 AM EST / 6:50-8:30 AM PDT / 2:50 – 4:30 GMT / 3:50-5:30 GMT+1
Midday Session:

  • Elizabeth Schlesinger [Dresden State Art Collections]: “The Dresden Gallery Frame: history, conservation, and current handling”
  • Tess Graafland and Josephina de Fouw [Rijksmuseum]: “Finding the Perfect Match: Framing and reframing at the Rijksmuseum”
  • Elise Lopez [Musee d’Orsay]: “XIXe century frames collections: researches and observations from the Musée d’Orsay’s frame conservator”
  • Liza Nathan [Tate Britain]: “Three Frames, One Painting: a contextual journey”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Suzanne Smeaton

Half-hour Break: 11:30-12:00 EST / 8:30-9:00 AM PDT / 4:30-5:00 PM GMT / 5:30-6:00 GMT+1

12:00-2:00 PM EST / 9:00 –11:00 AM PDT / 5:00-7:00 PM GMT / 6:00 – 8:00 PM GMT+1
Afternoon Session:

  • Irma Passeri [Yale University Art Gallery]: “A Renaissance tondo frame at the Yale University Art Gallery: historical reuse, technical examination, and conservation treatment”
  • Gregory Porter and Andrew Haines [MFA Boston]: “The Conservation Treatment of the Frame on a 15th century Venetian Altarpiece by Bartolomeo Vivarini”
  • Christopher H. Brooks and Allison Langley [Art Institute of Chicago]: “Reframing Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte- 1884: a process of research, revision and refinement”
  • Sacha Marie Levay [Montreal Museum of Fine Arts]: “Journal of a Framer”
  • Allison Jackson [Harvard Art Museums]: “A Decade of Intentional Framing at the Harvard Art Museums”
  • Q&A Session Moderated by: Tracy Gill

2:00-2:45 PM EST / 11:00 AM – 11:45PM PDT / 7:00-7:45PM GMT / 8:00-8:45 PM GMT+1
Closing Keynote Address:

  • Hubert Baija [retired Conservator of Frames, Rijksmuseum]: “Colorful Traces - Original Medieval Framing”

2:45-3:00 PM EST / 11:45 AM – 12:00PM PDT / 7:45-8:00PM GMT / 8:45-9:00 PM GMT+1
Closing Remarks

For requests for Verbal Description, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and/or live captioning for online and onsite programming, please provide three weeks notice in advance of the event date. The AGO will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than three weeks notice. Please note that automated captioning is available for all online programs. For onsite visits, the AGO offers these supports for an accessible visit. Please contact us to make a request for these or other accessibility accommodations. Learn more about accessibility at the AGO.
Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.