NEW YORK – On Feb. 19, Guernsey’s will be conducting an unprecedented auction of “The Frame as Art: Eli Wilner’s Personal Collection” consisting of more than 400 of the workshop’s finest frames made using old-world artisanship. The auction will be held at New York’s prestigious The Pierre Hotel with Session I beginning at 1 p.m. and Session II beginning at 7 p.m. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
What do The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum and the White House have in common? On the walls of each, one will find more than two dozen magnificent picture frames crafted at the workshops of Eli Wilner & Co., Master Framers. When the Met was searching for an intricately carved, stunning and massive 14-by-23-foot gold-leafed frame to showcase its historic painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, the museum commissioned Eli Wilner for the coveted seven-figure assignment. And when Sotheby’s and Christie’s required the finest frames to surround important works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, O’Keeffe, Rockwell and Magritte, they reached out to the Wilner studio.
Following the conclusion of prominent museum exhibitions or important art auctions, frames the company loaned for those occasions were returned and became part of the Eli Wilner Classic Frame Collection. Each unique frame will include its exhibition history. The auction will include frames that surrounded works such as: Van Gogh’s Paysage sous un Ciel Mouvemente for $54 million, Rockwell’s The Gossips for $8 million, and Picasso’s Le Peintre et son Modele for $13 million all of which were sold at Sotheby’s.
In addition to Washington Crossing the Delaware, the Met framed John Singer Sargent’s famous Madame X in an exquisite Wilner work, while a visit to the White House would include sightings of Eli Wilner frames on Albert Bierstadt’s powerful Storm Clouds and, in the Oval Office, Childe Hassam’s The Avenue in the Rain.
Not a perfect fit? Successful buyers of these picture frames can easily have a liner created, adapting the frame to an existing work of art. Or, inasmuch as some view these frames as “masterpieces in and of themselves,” simply add a mirror or nest them on the wall.
Inquiries about this unprecedented auction should be directed to Guernsey’s: 212-794-2280.