Access expert knowledge on American period frames. American frames and frame history are still not part of any Art History curriculum; this vital aspect of art history and the presentation of art collections has a dramatic impact on the experience of the viewing public.
Learn the best options for framing individual artworks or for the overall presentation of your collection. View options from a variety of sources vetted by a seasoned authority to best determine your course of action.
What frames in our collection are noteworthy? What artworks are suffering in their current frames? What about all the framed artworks in our storage that aren’t on view? Are any of the empty frames we have worth using and how? An examination of the collection- both that on view and objects in storage- can provide curators and collections managers with valuable information in making the most of your artwork.
Projects included: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY (American Paintings Department); Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, FL; Springfield Museum of Art, MA.
As a certified member of the Appraisers Association of America I can provide expert opinions and appraisals for insurance, estate, and charitable donations. Author of the exam for certification in American Period Frames for the AAA.
Education and Public Programs
Public programs on frames and frame history including Powerpoint presentations and frame clinics. Such programs can be especially helpful in educating members and gaining support for frame initiatives.
Docent Education through Powerpoint presentations, question and answer sessions and gallery walk-through. Programs can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
Inquire about working with Suzanne
“Right dress, wrong shoes! Nothing compromises the visual impact of an artwork like housing it in an unsympathetic frame. Historically accurate frames are simply logical for public art collections, allowing each treasured work to put its best foot forward. Period moldings also have an undeniable and often exciting positive impact on paintings held by private collectors. But framing is more than a matter of taste; it requires deep knowledge of framing history.
Since the early 1990s, my go-to specialist on issues of historic framing has been Suzanne Smeaton. Together we have surveyed American art collections at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and at the Baltimore Museum of Art. We have identified original period frames that subsequently received professional conservation. We have selected period moldings for important paintings, and have chosen frame designs for replication when an antique frame was unavailable. I have long lost count of the number of beautiful 18th, 19th, and 20th-century American paintings I have re-housed in collaboration with Suzanne.
In the newly restored American Wing at the BMA, our object labels feature information about frames, a significant branch of the decorative arts. My favorite is always the picture most recently rescued.”
Dr. David Park Curry,
Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, American Painting & Sculpture at the Baltimore Museum of Art
“The importance of the right frame on a painting cannot be overemphasized. Any painting, whether by a renowned master or a lesser-known artist, is enhanced by an informed and sensitive choice of frame. But how does one arrive at the right choice?
There is no one who has a greater depth of knowledge of American frames and frame history than Suzanne Smeaton. She has an incredible eye for art and an ability to bring together the perfect marriage of painting and frame. I had the very great pleasure, over many years, of working with Suzanne to reframe some of the most important and beloved American paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery. Her passion and enthusiasm for each project was contagious.
Her attention to detail, to the subtleties of finish, and to the integrity of design and style made working with her a privilege. The final pleasure was seeing the reframed painting in a new light and Suzanne's expertise made it possible. “
Helen A. Cooper, Holcombe T. Green Curator Emeritus of American Paintings and Sculpture,
Yale University Art Gallery