NEW YORK, NY.-
One of Eli Wilner & Company
s most notable framing accomplishments began when they were commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to recreate a monumental frame for Emanuel Leutzes "Washington Crossing the Delaware" (1851), based on re-discovered documentary photographs by Mathew Brady. The original frame shown in the Brady photographs had been inexplicably lost.
Mr. Wilner speaks of the frame as a tour de force, absolutely the most creative and involved surround for a painting that I have ever seen. Not only does the frame have exterior dimensions of approximately 14 x 23 feet, it also features a fully hand-carved and gilded 14-foot wide crest, consisting of Revolutionary War symbols such as an eagle, flags, pikes, bayonets, a drum, and a munitions case. An undulating ribbon at the base of the crest reads, First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen, a line excerpted from Henry Lees eulogy for Washington in 1799.
The Wilner staff spent years doing in-depth research alongside the Mets curators, and meticulously handcrafting the frame. The frame has a wide cove profile with acanthus leaf and leaf-and-berry cast ornaments. In addition to the crest, hand-carved elements include the embellished shields at the corners and individual stars set inside the cove. Using over 12,500 sheets of gold, the entire frame surface was water-gilded in the traditional fashion. The frame was so massive that it had to be designed for on-site assembly and was carried up the Museums Grand Stairwell in sections.
This project was featured in a segment on CBS Sunday Morning, including a six-minute interview by Morley Safer with Eli Wilner and Carrie Barratt of the Metropolitan Museum. The interview can be viewed at EliWilner.com
In recognition of this anniversary, Eli Wilner has announced the availability of funding to cover part of the cost of selected reframing and frame restoration projects for museums. Museum representatives have been invited to contact Wilner with details of their upcoming reframing or frame restoration needs.