This frame belongs to a $25,000 painting and was made in France in the 1920s. The still life that goes in this frame is in the conservation laboratory to be treated for flaking.
Because this is the original frame and looks good with the painting, it is important to the owner to stabilize the conditions and make it look presentable, though he did not want to spend the money to make it look perfect.
The frame’s finish layers are cracking badly; gesso pieces have been lost and some of the finish layers have begun flaking. Outside edges of the frame have many areas of exposed wood where the gesso has popped off (note photo above).
We applied very dilute low molecular weight acrylic adhesive into the cracks of the broken gesso layers with a small tipping brush. We went over the frame five times to make sure we consolidated all loose areas. We also toned the freshly flaked white gesso with water color, so that the loses will blend in better. Finally we coated the frame with wax to even out the appearance and to protect the surface of the frame.
For the $300 the frame’s condition was stabilized and the losses made to not seem so evident. The owner understood and accepted the frame’s gesso and painted liner was still stained and damaged looking (though stable). This cost was in contrast to the $1,800.00 to make the frame look perfect.
Ornate frames can be damaged easily when knocked around, as during rough handling/shipping or in natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and tornados. Smoke damage and fire damage can almost always be remediated. Check with you insurance adjuster about including nice frames that are damaged in a claim. Chop shop frames can easily be replaced with a new frame.
If you are going to throw out a nice, but damaged frame, give me a call. I may be able to recycle it for you. Call toll free 888 704 7757
Conservation and restoration questions? Call toll free 888 704 7757
Appraisal questions? Call 805 895 5121
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