CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Framing the frame

Eric Domela Nieuwenhuis

Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680), Self Portrait, ca. 1667 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The exhibition catalogue Prijst de lijst (1984) (published in English as Framing in the Golden Age in 1995) has served as a reference book on 17th-century Northern Netherlandish painting frames for more than 25 years. To date, virtually no research has been conducted on 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th-century frames. How does the deficient knowledge of Dutch frames determine the way in which the Dutch paintings are currently presented in museums? How familiar are museums with their own collections of frames, and what criteria do curators follow when changing the frames of their paintings? What can museums do with the unused frames? What are the pros and cons of using copies of contemporary frames? To what extent is it ethically responsible to enlarge or reduce frames in order to better present the paintings? I would welcome discussing these questions and exchanging ideas with colleagues.


About Eric Domela Nieuwenhuis

Art historian Eric Domela Nieuwenhuis (1961) has been a curator at the Instituut Collectie Nederland (ICN) (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage) since 2003. While studying in Leiden he was an assistant in the Print Room of Leiden University for two years. Immediately after completing his studies he worked for two years in the Department of Paper History at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library) in The Hague and subsequently for one year at the Iconografisch Bureau (Iconographic Bureau), also in The Hague. Together with Michiel Plomp, in 1998 he wrote the collection catalogue of prints and drawings in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (published in 2004). From 1992 to 1996 he worked on his dissertation as a trainee researcher with a grant from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). He obtained his doctoral degree with a dissertation on the Utrecht painter Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638) in 2001.