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About Eli Wilner & Company

Frames function as decorative borders, as supports, as protection for paintings. They call attention to the enclosed art and even reflect light on it. Frames separate pictures from their surrounding environment and serve as a part of the comprehensive period style of interior design. As for their financial value, the actual price of the frame adds to the value of the painting. Artists have frequently designed frames or selected and combined ready-made moldings, sometimes making the frames themselves or leaving this to other craftspeople.

Unlike conventional reproduction frames, the precise replica frames made by Eli Wilner & Company are created in much the same way as the original period frames. Unlike most frame-makers, our gallery has not developed a repertoire of styles that we mill in quantity and then tweak for each order. No frame design is generated in quantity, no replicas are made from copies, and each frame is made one at a time, with great care and artistry. Each frame selection is made by drawing upon our inventory of over 3,500 original period frames, and art-historical expertise regarding period-appropriate styles. Carved frames and those with applied ornament are all carefully composed and then meticulously gilded and patinated to emulate the effects of age. The result is a frame that has the charm and beauty of a period frame.

Eli Wilner & Company is the world's finest resource for antique American and European frames. As a specialist in period framing for nearly 40 years, Eli Wilner has completed over 15,000 framing projects for collectors and museums. Our gallery is held in high regard by both institutions and private collectors for our expertise, extensive inventory, and superior quality of craftsmanship. This regard and confidence is evidenced by customers such as The White House, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Yale University Art Gallery and many private individuals.

One of our most important projects is the framing of twenty-eight paintings for The White House, including artworks by Martin Johnson Heade, Worthington Whittredge, William Merritt Chase, John Singer Sargent, Severin Roesen and a painting by Childe Hassam that hangs in the Oval Office.

Eli Wilner & Company's most-known project is the hand-carved and gilded replica of the lost original frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze. This frame is the focal point of the renovated American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The frame's opening size is over 12 x 21 feet, and is surmounted by an elaborate construction twelve feet across displaying an eagle, flags, pikes, a banner and other regalia.

Eli Wilner & Company also works with top auction houses worldwide to loan frames for their most important lots. Many of these paintings achieved record-breaking prices in a Wilner frame, including Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Pablo Picasso which sold at Christie's on May 6, 2010 for $106,000,000. A replica frame was created by using a historical photograph showing the original frame on the painting in the 1932 Georges Petit exhibition, curated by Picasso himself. By the time the painting reached Christie's, this frame had been lost.

The finest examples of period frames have been sold in the marketplace for hundreds of thousands of dollars. One collector has spent nearly $10 million forming a period frame collection. Eli Wilner & Company period frame prices are generally between $8,500 and $65,000 depending on the rarity, size and condition of the frame.

Replica frame prices typically range from $3,500 to $125,000 except for unusual requests. Replica frames can be even more expensive than period frames based on the labor involved in creating them. As an example, to replicate the frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze would cost $2.5 million.

Eli Wilner standing in a showroom of period frames

A skilled craftsman working on a replica frame

A skilled craftsman carefully marks a cut on a frame