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Wednesday, 02 October 2013 17:53

Iconic Bierstadt Painting Gets a New Frame

The centerpiece of the Rockwell Museum of Western Art’s collection – Albert Bierstadt’s seminal painting Mount Whitney – was outfitted with a new frame late last month. The custom-made replica of an 1870s American frame was crafted by Manhattan’s Gill & Lagodich Fine Period Frames & Restoration. Experts spent nearly a year researching and fabricating the 8-foot x 12-foot gilded frame, which is decorated with traditional American oak leaf-and-berry and neoclassical elements.

Considered one of the nation’s most important American landscape paintings, officials at the Rockwell museum decided to revamp Mount Whitney after noticing a number of inconsistencies in its frame. Muddy molding and discolored gold leaf indicated that it was not the painting’s original frame and further research revealed that it was a reproduction of an 1850s French Empire-style frame. After consulting with a frame conservator, the Rockwell’s curatorial staff decided to commission a replica of an American period frame, which would properly preserve and present the monumental work of art.

Mount Whitney, a majestic depiction of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, epitomizes the sweeping landscapes of the American west that Bierstadt is best known for. Tracy Gill of Gill & Lagodich, said, “The objective is to recreate a frame of the highest quality that looks like it was made at the same time as the painting. Ultimately we want you to see the framed masterpiece as Bierstadt would have wanted. If we’ve created a frame that looks like the artist chose it, we’ve done our job right.”

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