05/08/2006: "Frames - who gets to decide?"
Question: Who gets to decide how to frame a painting once it's sold? For me the frame is an important part of my finished paintings. I use a black outline around all of my design elements and I consider the simple black frame to be the final outline that holds it all together. So, what happens if someone buys a painting and decides to put it in a huge obnoxious pink frame?
There is a certain US copyright law that stipulates:
"...the exclusive rights provided in section 106, the author of a work of visual art...shall have the right—(A) to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation, and any intentional distortion, mutilation, or modification of that work is a violation of that right."
Though changing a painting's frame isn't "mutilation" exactly, I suppose one could write into the sales contract the stipulation that the frame is considered a part of the original work of art.
This question came up with an artist friend who (coincidentally) doesn't like the frame I've chosen for the painting of his that I own. I didn't like the frame he used and purchased it unframed. He doesn't think the frame I've chosen works with the piece. Ultimately it's still his image, though the frames he uses are kindof expensive and would clash with how I've framed all my other artwork. For the record, if it's that important to him I'll change the frame out of common courtesy but I thought it was an interesting question. Thoughts?