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Eli Wilner & Co. to hold lecture and exhibition on the design and function of the Orientalist picture frame
A gilded European frame with applied ornament in the orientalist style, created c. 1870, private collection, photo courtesy of Eli Wilner & Company.

NEW YORK, NY.- The leading U.S. antique frame dealer Eli Wilner and Orientalist art expert Emily M. Weeks, Ph.D. will present an exhibition and lecture on the Orientalist picture frame at Sotheby’s New York on the afternoon of May 21, 2017.

“Framing the Orient: The Design and Function of the Orientalist Picture Frame” will offer an introduction to this largely unrecognized art form, and will feature an unprecedented display of both replica and antique frames. A question and answer period will follow, and light refreshments will be served.

The ebb and flow of Orientalism’s popularity from its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century until today has had one distinct art historical advantage: many of the frames associated with its paintings have endured. Unlike other pictures, which were featured in museums, or passed from one private collection to the next, or which, due to their visibility and caché, were perceived as needing to display the latest trend and style, the frames that surrounded Orientalist pictures were relatively free from the vagaries of institutional or personal taste. Original Orientalist frames are, consequently, often still paired with the paintings they were designed or purchased for, and tend to be better preserved than frames that led more “active” lives. Given these circumstances, it is curious that Orientalist picture frames have not received more scholarly or popular attention, particularly as they are among the best examples in frame history of how frames act as critically important and influential stage settings for the images they house. During the course of this presentation, Orientalist frames will be shown to be not merely works of art in their own right, but distinctive, calculated, and often deeply personal creations, which also reflect the architecture, politics, and society around them.

Eli Wilner is a leading frame historian, dealer, restorer, appraiser and collector. His extensive publications include Antique American Frames: Identification and Price Guide, and The Gilded Edge, the authoritative book about antique American frames. Emily M. Weeks, Ph.D. is an independent art historian and consultant for museums, auction houses, and private collectors in America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her areas of expertise include Orientalism and nineteenth-century European and British visual culture.

To RSVP or request further information regarding the Framing The Orient lecture and exhibition, please contact Jenny Readling Winchester, Sotheby's Special Events Coordinator:

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