((Essay from, "The Art of Everyday Joe: A Collector's Journal."))
It has only happened once, but that's more than enough. It doesn't feel good. In fact, I couldn’t believe someone could violate another human being like that.
I've been framed!
And I'm still in recovery. There's no way to describe the feeling when you know something is terribly wrong with a painting. It's not necessarily the painting itself. It's ... yes, there's no denying it ... the frame!
For a collector, a badly framed painting is just wrong. It's robbed of its true identity and message. Fortunately, the problem can be addressed by simply re-framing it.
However, this creates a whole new set of issues. For example, I own a painting by an artist whose work I collect. The artist sent me a piece that I bought, but I didn't know that it would come complete with this ill-suited frame. If the piece had been framed by anyone other than the artist, I would've changed it immediately. However, because the artist framed the piece, I really feel committed to it. I think framing, particularly if done by the artist, is part of a painting's appeal and overall message.
This issue is so subjective. I remember having a conversation with a couple of other collectors about this. One person said, "You don't have to be married to the frame! Change it!" Another said, "I've seen some bad paintings look great when the frame has been changed!"
I certainly agree. I can't tell you how many paintings I've seen in respected museums and have wondered what the heck they were thinking when they framed them. We're talking about the professionals here.
It also surprises me how often the artists I encounter don't even want to get involved in the framing process. For many, it's purely an afterthought. I think some artists believe that framing gets into "decorative" territory, which they would rather avoid. I understand, but as my collector colleagues say, frames can sometimes make or break a piece. When I acquire a piece that requires framing, I always try to include artists in the process, despite their indifference.
Even though I've been framed ... wrongly ... by one of my artists, I feel that I should stick with this intrusion on an otherwise great piece. Artistic expression, I suppose.
Every time I look at it, I wince. I’m actually looking at it right now. It could be worse I suppose. We’re talking about art, not cancer. I may go ahead and change it. In the meantime, if anyone comes over and looks at it and gives me that disdainful look, I'll just say, "Hey, it’s not my fault! I’ve been framed!"