Picture Frames

Picture frames have been an important feature of art, especially paintings, since antiquity. Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman tableaus often included trompe l’oeil frames, which were painted with illusionist effects intended to trick the eye. Frames were also central to early Christian art and used to separate religious scenes depicted in icons and altarpieces from the everyday world.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, European art collectors became fascinated with portraiture, commissioning paintings of themselves, their children, and their extended families. The task of painting a portrait and outfitting it with an aesthetically-pleasing frame was a significant part of the artistic process, involving input from multiple people. The British painter George Romney, for example, worked closely with the London framer William Saunders to fashion frames that complemented and enhanced his paintings.

The invention of photography in 1839 was a significant moment for the history of framing. People began photographing special occasions and everyday experiences and displaying these captured moments in their homes and workspaces. Picture frames not only add decoration and a sense of style, but also provide much-needed protection for displayed photographs. Frames remain crucial to the presentation of paintings, photographs, and works on paper today.


Quick Facts

  • In 18th-century France, frame making was a highly specialized task that required framers to become both master craftsmen and master sculptors
  • Picasso and Matisse often used Renaissance frames to encase their paintings and works on paper, further enhancing their monetary value
  • The most traditional material used to construct picture frames is wood, although silver, bronze, aluminum, and plastics are also frequently used

Recommended Items at Auction

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Argenti Valenti Sterling Silver Picture Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Argenti Valenti Sterling Silver Picture Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $200
$605 Bids
STERLING DOUBLE FRAME ANGEL
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
STERLING DOUBLE FRAME ANGEL
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$124 Bids
Antique JB LD Sterling Silver Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique JB LD Sterling Silver Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $200
$253 Bids
Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame In Box
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame In Box
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$403 Bids
KF LD Antique Sterling Silver Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
KF LD Antique Sterling Silver Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$503 Bids
Three Italian Silver Articles
Oct 18, 10:00 AM CDT
Three Italian Silver Articles
by Hindman
Est: $500- $700
$3503 Bids
Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$302 Bids
Oval shaped Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Oval shaped Antique Sterling Silver Picture Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$42 Bids
Group of Five Asian Style Framed Art Pieces
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Group of Five Asian Style Framed Art Pieces
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
Sterling Silver Mounted Photo Frame, 7 x 5 in
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Sterling Silver Mounted Photo Frame, 7 x 5 in
by Weschler's
Est: $30- $50
$152 Bids
Buccellati Italian Sterling Silver Leaf Photo Frame
Oct 17, 10:00 AM PDT
Buccellati Italian Sterling Silver Leaf Photo Frame
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $500- $700
$4001 Bid
A MATCHING PAIR OF FOLK ART PICTURE FRAMES C. 1890
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
A MATCHING PAIR OF FOLK ART PICTURE FRAMES C. 1890
by Dirk Soulis Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Gemälderahmen: Renaissancerahmen, 17. Jh.?
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Gemälderahmen: Renaissancerahmen, 17. Jh.?
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €200- €300
€1601 Bid
Gemälderahmen: Spätrenaissancerahmen, 17. Jh.
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Gemälderahmen: Spätrenaissancerahmen, 17. Jh.
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €200- €300
€1601 Bid
Gemälderahmen: Wohl Italien, 19. Jh. im Renaissancestil
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Gemälderahmen: Wohl Italien, 19. Jh. im Renaissancestil
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €350- €450
€2801 Bid
Gemälderahmen: Spanischer Rahmen im Stil des 17. Jh.
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Gemälderahmen: Spanischer Rahmen im Stil des 17. Jh.
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €150- €200
€1201 Bid
Gemälderahmen: Profilierte Leiste im Stil des 17. Jh.
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Gemälderahmen: Profilierte Leiste im Stil des 17. Jh.
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €30- €40
€201 Bid
Jay Strongwater Enameled Oval Photo Frame
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Jay Strongwater Enameled Oval Photo Frame
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $20- $200
$201 Bid
3 VINTAGE STERLING SILVER FRAMES
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
3 VINTAGE STERLING SILVER FRAMES
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$51 Bid
Ornate Gilt Wood Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Ornate Gilt Wood Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $300
$11 Bid
Metallic Toned Wood Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Metallic Toned Wood Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$11 Bid
Grande Ornate Gilt Wooden Frame
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Grande Ornate Gilt Wooden Frame
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $400
$11 Bid
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Sterling Silver Picture Frame
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
Sterling Silver Picture Frame
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $75- $150
$301 Bid
Vintage Empire Silver Sterling Silver Frame
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Vintage Empire Silver Sterling Silver Frame
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$401 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Picture Frames


Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus

Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc

The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc