Monday, November 26, 2012


Webb’s has always done a bit of it, Art+Object in general resisted, Hotere was always a sitter for as was Fomison, and as for Goldie, it’s impossible to imagine one without it. We’re talking the frame here, not just on paintings, but in the photographs of paintings.

The latest Art+Object catalogue (Tuesday 6.30 pm) looks like a push into having the frame become an essential part of presenting paintings for auction. This time 32 percent of the works in the catalogue have been photographed with their frames included, that’s twice as many as in the Les and Milly Paris auction back in September.

Webb’s latest catalogue (Wednesday, 6.30 pm) only has 15 percent of its entries photographed with frames, but back in March it was only eight percent so maybe the increase is a trend. If anyone can be bothered going back through a hundred or so auction catalogues they might be able to confirm this but, in the mean time, we’ll settle for it being a cluster. Still it isa truism that many dealers and collectors play the frame game. People might not understand the value of a work but whack an expensive or exotic frame round it and there's not many who don't get the message.

In case you’ve drifted off, here's a guessing game. The frames in this post’s image are all from the Art+Object catalogue. Can you name the artists they enhanced? Answers here.

By the way, if you’re after work by women artists at either of these two auctions, forget it. Artworks by women at A+O are 8.3 percent of the 84 lots and Webb’s 11.5 percent of their 87.