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First fully-funded American museum frame conservation grant awards offered by Eli Wilner
Samuel Colman, “Clearing Storm at Gibraltar”1860, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

NEW YORK, NY.- As part of an ongoing commitment to period frames, Eli Wilner & Company will restore five important American frames in public collections at no cost whatsoever to the institutions. The five frames will be selected from eligible applications by a panel of distinguished jurors from the professional community. Applications will be accepted from museums, historic sites, and other nonprofit cultural institutions.

Eli Wilner & Company has completed hundreds of complex frame restorations for private collectors and public institutions. Increasingly, curators, dealer, collectors, and aficionados embrace the aesthetic and historical value of period frames. With a 10,000 square foot studio, the Wilner expert carvers, gilders, and mold-makers are able to complete a remarkably wide range of projects, including those that smaller studios cannot accommodate.

Five grants will be awarded in categories based on the date of the frames. The categories are as follows: 18th Century, Early 19th Century (1800-1850), Late 19th Century (1850-1899), Early 20th Century (1900-1930), and Mid- 20th Century (1931-1960). In addition to frame restoration, the selected institutions will be entitled to a private tour of the Eli Wilner Studio during the restoration process, for staff members and museum donors. The costs of crating and shipping will be covered by the grant.

Application Process
Applications should be emailed to with “Frame Conservation Grant” in the subject line.

The application should include a statement discussing the following topics:

1. A description of the frame, including a discussion of its current condition. Only period frames will be considered.

2. A statement of the originality and appropriateness of the frame to the painting, with consideration of the integrity of the artist's original vision.

3. A statement of the importance of the frame and the painting it encloses to the institution's collection.

4. A statement of the institution's larger program to restore and care for their collection of period frames.

5. Lastly, a statement of the institution's views on framing as a component of visitor education.

All applicants must submit detailed images and measurements for the proposed project. Please indicate the category (see above) for which the project should be considered.

All submissions must be received by November 30, 2015. Prizes will be announced on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

Carrie Rebora Barratt - Deputy Director for Collections and Administration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the directors liaison for curatorial, conservation, libraries, education, editorial, and digital media departments at the museum. Previously Ms. Barratt Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, a leader in the renovation of the galleries of American Paintings and Sculpture, which reopened in 2011. An expert on American portraits, including portrait miniatures, and American picture frames, she has curated many exhibitions, delivered lectures, and published widely on these topics. She holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an MA from the University of California at Los Angeles, and her PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Annette Blaugrund - Dr. Blaugrund has published and lectured widely on diverse subjects in American art and culture. She has served as the director of the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon senior curator at the New-York Historical Society, and as a curator at the Brooklyn Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy and was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, among other honors. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University, where for six years she taught American art, and now sits on the Advisory Council of the art history department. Her most recent publications are Albert Bierstadt in New York and New England, a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of the same name for the Thomas Cole National Historic Site (TCNHS), and Charting New Waters: Redefining Marine Painting, a catalogue of 19th and 20th century European and American paintings in the collection of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, MN. Currently she is working on an exhibition and catalogue for TCNHS- "Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect," which will travel to the Columbus Museum of Art.

Mark Cole - Curator of American Painting and Sculpture, Cleveland Museum of Art. Mr. Cole completed the reinstallation and reinterpretation of the museum’s holdings as part of the extensive renovation and expansion, while simultaneously launching an extensive framing initiative. His acquisitions include major works by Aaron Douglas, Jared French, Jacob Lawrence, Edmonia Lewis, Reginald Marsh, and Theodore Roszak. He hosted such exhibitions as “Maine Sublime: Frederic Church’s Twilight in the Wilderness” and "Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties;" and this past fall organized "Jacob Lawrence: The Toussaint L’Ouverture Series." He has lectured and published on a variety of topics, including Beaux Arts mural painting, New Deal-era African–American artistic production, and commodity sculpture of the 1980s, and he recently contributed the essay, “A Life Cut Short,” to the George Bellows retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art. Cole holds a PhD from the University of Delaware where he specialized in the history of American art, and an MA in art history and museum studies from Case Western Reserve University. He was the recipient of a Henry R. Luce Foundation Fellowship in American Art, as well as a Smithsonian Fellowship in American Art.

Rebecca Lawton - Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. She earned a BA from Colorado College and an MA in art history from Syracuse University. She began her curatorial career in 1982 as the research assistant for the exhibition and catalogue The Arts and Crafts Movement in New York State, which won the Henry Allen Moe Prize for scholarship. She worked as an assistant curator at the Delaware Art Museum (1984 –1988) and as curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College (1988 – 1999). Since arriving at the Carter Museum in 2000, she has organized several exhibitions including "Striking Likeness: Portrait Prints from the Permanent Collection," "American Masters of the Woodcut," "Stamped with a National Character: Nineteenth-Century American Color-Plate Books," "Edward Hopper in Four Acts," and "The Spirit of 291," among many others.

Alex Nyerges - Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia. During a 35 year career as a director, Mr. Nyerges has also served as Director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, Executive Director of the Mississippi Museum of Art, and Executive Director of the DeLand Museum of Art. He was responsible for the major expansion and grand re-opening of the VMFA, and brought the exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musée National Picasso Paris to VMFA. He curated such exhibitions as Edward Weston: A Photographer’s Love of Life, and In Praise of Nature: Ansel Adams and Photographers of the American West. He has organized numerous international exhibitions including Glory of the Silk Road: Art from Ancient China, and Eternal China: Treasures from Ancient Xi’an. At the 2014 French Regional & American Museum Exchange Annual Conference in Dijon, France, he was awarded the rank of Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters for his contribution to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. He holds a master’s degree in museum studies, and undergraduate degrees in American civilization and anthropology from The George Washington University.

Recognized as the foremost worldwide authority on antique frames, and founded in 1983, Eli Wilner & Company specializes in American and European frames from the 17th-through mid-20th centuries. Clients include fine art collectors, major art and historical institutions as well as The White House, where we have created 28 frames for its collection, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we re-created the frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.

With an atelier composed of a team of highly skilled artisans, including 15 frame conservators, and over 10,000 framing projects completed to date, Eli Wilner & Company takes pride in each project. Recent restoration projects include period frames for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

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