NEW YORK, NY - Wood frame expert and manufacturer Eli Wilner & Co. is in the spotlight for a tour de force project: a hand-carved and gilded replica of the lost original frame for the Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.

The frame and painting is featured in the renovated American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum, which formally opened January 14. The frame's opening is 12 x 21 feet, and is "surmounted by an elaborate construction 12 feet across displaying an eagle, flags, pikes, a banner and other regalia," as Wilner describes it.

Eli Wilner says when he formed his company in 1983, "I felt like a pioneer discovering long lost art works." He now employs 22 master craftsman and frame conservators, who can restore or recreate frames.

Having produced frames for the White House collection, for the Metropolitan, Smithsonian and many other museums, Wilner's frames are also loaned out to Sotheby's and Christies for displays at auctions.

"I am very proud of the nearly 10,000 framing projects we have completed to date," Wilner says, including 28 for the White House alone.

Wilner has become a leading expert on frame forensics, and collaborates with curators on the frames to be used for exhibitions. He has also helped establish a certification program for antique frame experts for the Appraisers Assn. of America.

In May Wilner gave a presentation at an International Foundation for Art Research event, on "Frame Forensics," addressing frame aesthetics, connoisseurship, and identification of authentic period frames, and on French, Italian, English, and American frame construction. The wood carved frame company has also begun selling with vandm.com, an e-commerce site for vintage furniture and other antiques. 

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