This article was originally published on Getty News & Stories
There’s a workshop at the Getty Center where the paintings aren’t the stars. Instead, the frames take center stage.
In this bright and airy room, empty frames hang on the walls, and tools and books line the counters. There you’d find associate conservator Gene Karakker, who retired earlier this year, choosing from an assortment of scalpels, knives, brushes, and cleaning solutions before turning to centuries-old frames propped up on wooden stands waiting to be restored. Once they are paired with artworks and hung on the gallery walls, their job will be to protect and enhance the artworks. These frames, with their intricately carved florals, scalloped edges, and swooping curves, are triumphs of art and design in their own right.
Frames tell their own tales: about when and where the artwork was completed, the decorative styles that were popular at the time, and the artwork’s journey from artist to collector. To learn the history of a frame, then, is to learn an even richer story about the artwork itself.Continue reading