frieze.ie was established by myself, Paul Wyer, in 2021.
Making picture frames has been my passion for most of my adult life. After leaving University I began working for Bonhams Auctioneers in Chelsea and Knightsbridge. Within a year I was organising the Sales of Antique Frames – beautiful parcel-gilt examples from Renaissance Italy, intricately carved and gilded frames from 17th Century France and other exquisite works of craftsmanship from the 15th Century through to the present day.
My clients included the cream of international Picture Frame Dealers and Frame Makers from London, Paris and New York. Most notably was the Florentine master carver and gilder, Riccardo Giaccherini, whose workshop was based in the West End. He nurtured and encouraged my interest like no other. On one memorable visit to illicit his business, I was alone in the studio with Riccardo and Lucien Freud, possibly the greatest Portrait Painter of the 20th Century but also a notoriously difficult personality. Two great men were in the room – I was neither of them – one who has been a lifelong inspiration for his knowledge, his creativity and his kindness; and the other who I was told not to bother!
I learnt to make frames while working for the Pigeonhole Gallery and the Ariel Press, fine art print publishers, in London. Many happy years spent learning my trade and experimenting with new ideas while producing work for many interior designers and developing new product portfolios for our stands at major exhibitions such as Living Design London, Decorex and the International Spring Fair.
My interest in Contemporary and 20th Century art blossomed during the 10 years that I managed the commercial framing department of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly – a service established to meet the framing needs of the artist Academicians until the redevelopment of Burlington House in the twenty teens. Working alongside some very talented picture framers, joiners, gilders, conservators and restorers, the business provided an all-encompassing art service not only to the Academicians themselves (many of them household names in the art world); but also to students of the Royal Academy Schools, the nearby Art Galleries on London’s famous Cork Street as well as numerous other artists, private individuals and businesses. Highlights during my tenure at the Royal Academy included: making frames for several Frank Auerbach paintings; designing over-frames for works included in the Turner Exhibition of ‘The Great Watercolours’ in 2000-2001; a conservation project for some large cartoons of stained glass designs languishing in the roof vaults of St Paul’s Cathedral; but most of all, producing picture frames for the many wonderful artists and personalities, professional and amateur, entering their works into the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.