Framing “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth

(modern music) – [Peter] The frame shop here at the Museum of Modern
Art is actually unique. We do most of the framing
for the collection, for exhibitions and traveling exhibitions. Anything that is wood is made inside. We have a small woodworking shop. We have seven people
working at the department but we produce a
tremendous amount of work. In the case of Cristina’s World, it can’t be too modern. It has to fit with a certain context. Ultimately the best frame is the one that doesn’t call attention to itself. The frame has a way of
pushing and pulling. Normally if you had a landscape, it would be what is called a cove, a frame that comes out and
creates a window into the work. This works in reverse. This one the painting come forward and the frame goes back. The first thing I wanted
to do was to understand why the frame was not working. What is it about the frame that could be improved upon? It was not original to the work. Framers talk about frames
in terms of weight, not necessarily in terms of look. The frame could be too
light, it could be too heavy. The frame that it had
was a little bit light. A little (mumbles) even though it had a gold band on the inside. The gilded liner of the
frame was actually touching the chimneys of the house. Wyeth spent a great
deal of time and effort coming all the way too the edge. So what’s important that
we see the entire panel. This painting actually is floating. There are two frames in one here. It’s not damaging or causing any pressure. Many of the frames that Wyeth selected for his work were painted and he always wanted to pick
a color from the painting and use that color in the frame. If the artist does it it’s one thing, but a framer should not be doing that. I picked what I thought
would be a very natural wood and basically set the
painting within the frame as a beautiful little jewel. The whole frames is made
from one single piece of wood so that the grain just continues. We knew from the beginning that we were going to have a gold band. I decided to put a cove on the inside to separate the gilding. The next step is to design the panel. One element that would justify angling the panel to the outside
is the roof of the house. Then you have to decide how
that panel is going to end. This is an abrupt stop. It has another angle to the back. The frame will appear
almost floating on the wall because when you light it it’s going to cast a shadow behind it. After you make the frame then you start thinking
about the different stains. Once you put a stain on the
panel you can’t take it off and that’s where you come in. We’re making as many samples as possible using the exact same piece of wood. You can see the difference
if you put them next to it. These are very very minor variations that ultimately you
don’t pay attention to, but in terms of the framing
it’s rather important and it has a way of affecting
how we see a painting. (modern music)


  1. Very interesting. I love how much thought, detail and quality workmanship goes into the artistry of the frame to compliment the art. At MoMA, the art is completely surrounded by art.

  2. I'll never forget the day that I went to the MoMa, just walking around and it was close to closing time when suddenly I saw Christina's World on the wall.  I had always loved that painting, but had no idea it was actually in the MoMa.  It was probably one of the best surprises I had ever gotten.

  3. wow! completely did not know about wyeth picking a color for the frame from a color used in the painting. great stuff.

  4. I know I'm five years late, but I love these videos! Watching the framing process is very inusual

  5. Frame stain is far too warm for that painting. Should match the more gray rustic look of the wood typical in a wyeth painting or frame.

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