Beautiful Frame – Frame’s Beauty




The exhibition spotlights the evolution of the traditional ways of formalizing works of art. Paintings, graphic prints, pastels and their ornamental frames from the late 17th century up to the year 2006 are exposed. Throughout centuries, artists have sought for harmony between artwork and the ways it can be formalized. Interesting portraits, landscapes and still-lives starting with works from the 17th century Tallinn master Ernst Wilhelm Londicer (1655–1697) and ending up with Laurentsius, a contemporary Estonian artist, are displayed.


The huge collections (over 58 000 individual items) of Art Museum of Estonia include works, which original frames carry unique information about the original formalization of artwork and the tastes and trends of the era. A suitable frame can add value to the aesthetical wholeness of the piece, also keeping and protecting it against mechanical damage. Artworks in stylish Bidermeier frames are exposed side by side with masterpieces in lush Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rocco frames. Works by Adamson-Eric, Paul Burman, Oskar Hoffmann, Johann Köler, Ants Laikmaa, Oskar Kallis, Evald Okas, Alo Hoidre, Olev Subbi, Jaak Arro and many others are exposed in frames typical to their era.


The restorers-conservators of AME Sirje Säär and Alar Nurkse have gathered fascinating information about the masters, workshops and traditional ways of formalizing artwork in Estonian cultural heritage. The information is displayed on museum stands and walls. The exhibition is accompanied by educational programmes, workshops and curator-guided tours, telling about the role of frames in the overall impression of artwork and how to approach old frames when restoring works of art. In June, during Tallinn Old Town Days, the details of decorative frames reflecting contacts between different cultures will be decoded together with specialists.


Curators: Sirje Säär, Ülle Kruus and Alar Nurkse.

Design: Inga Heamägi