Philanthropist Rachel Lambert Mellon recently decided to bequeath van Gogh’s “Green Wheatfields, Auvers,” painted at St.-Rémy in 1890, to the National Gallery in Washington, DC. The Mellons bought the work from a dealer in 1955. Since then, it has hung in their living room, above the fireplace (presumably no fires ever burned there)…unframed. This is extraordinary – virtually all private owners of van Gogh’s works, as well as galleries and museums, feel compelled to dress them up in baroque or rococo frames; Louis XV frames are the most often chosen for the late works. To leave a van Gogh unadorned by a richly carved gold frame is such a rare choice that The New York Times took note of it in their Dec. 19 edition.
We recently framed a van Gogh for the Yale University Art Gallery in a manner that was both radical and, later, controversial. Jed Bark wrote about van Gogh’s interest in frames, and our own process of framing “The Night Café” (1888) in a manner consistent with the artist’s practice—the resulting article was published in the 2012/2013 volume of the IFAR Journal.
Download the article as a PDF.