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Tuesday, May 30 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Architecture + Wooden Artifacts) The Framing of a Masterpiece The History and Conservation of a Monumental Tabernacle Frame

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In the past, Museums sometimes deferred the care and treatment of frames in favor of the treatment of the paintings they housed.  Often a new frame was selected over the old in accordance with changes in fashion, time and ownership.  The old frames were then deaccessioned or put in storage, resulting in areas bulging with discarded frames waiting to be reunited with an appropriate painting.   This benign neglect has now actually provided conservators with rare opportunities for proper conservation treatments of important historical frames.  In this paper, conservators William B. Adair and Stephan C. Wilcox, explain the various treatment options available and elucidate the rationale leading to the final decisions for conservation of the tabernacle frame for Bellini and Titian's The Feast of the Gods.  The tabernacle frame has now been conserved back to its intended finish.      The Feast of the Gods was originally commissioned by the Duke and Dutchess of Ferrara in 1514 as part of a series of paintings placed in an architectural setting for the Gonzaga's palazzo in Mantua.  The frame, complete with pilasters and polychrome entablature, is considered by some to be one the most important Renaissance paintings in America. In particular, the dilemma of what time in history a work of art should be presented to the viewer will be discussed. Starting in the mid 19th century, when the Camuccini brothers from Rome sold the Feast of the Gods to the 4th Duke of Northumberland, to the 1916 sale by London dealers Thomas Agnew and Arthur Sulley to Joseph Widener, and eventually bequeathed to the National Gallery of Art.

avatar for William Adair

William Adair

Gilding Conservator, International Institute for Frame Study
William Adair worked for the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery for 10 years as a frame conservator. First trained as an artist, he then developed an expertise from Henry Heydenryk, in frame history and gilding techniques as practiced in European workshops. In 1982... Read More →

avatar for Stephan Wilcox

Stephan Wilcox

Senior Frame Conservator (Retired), National Gallery of Art
Stephan C. Wilcox was the Senior Conservator of Frames at the National Gallery of Art for 29 years. Prior to joining the National Gallery of Art he worked for five years in the conservation studio at North Carolina Museum of Art in the frame conservation department. He started his... Read More →

Tuesday May 30, 2017 2:00pm - 2:30pm CDT
Crystal Ballroom A Lobby Level, West Tower