Acanthes is one of the largest-format works in the Beyeler Collection, and the largest one framed under glass. The new frame was intended to accentuate what Matisse called "form reduced to essentials." As a "window on the world of the image," a frame can play a significant role in the way an picture is perceived. It is, so to speak, a mediator between the picture and the surrounding space. The frame should not dominate the work it encloses, but provide an adequate counterweight, to enable the image to unfold its effect. Yet the frame also represents a key conservation measure that serves to protect the work. A frame stabilizes its structure, and special glazing protects the fragile surface from dust, mechanical damage, and harmful light rays.
In the case of "Acanthes", special care was taken to achieve an aesthetically satisfying solution. In the course of the intensive process of finding the best frame, the conservators collaborated with framing specialists and the Fondation Beyeler curators. First, they addressed the question of what type of wood with what profile would best suit the work, and second, how broad the frame slats should be in order to produce a harmoniously proportioned frame. Different, extra-long sample slats held one after another directly alongside the work proved very helpful in determining the final frame design.
With regard to the protective glazing, we were fortunate in being able to obtain a specially manufactured, one-piece plexiglass sheet. In contrast to the former sheet, the new one has no unsightly, cemented joint, and at the same time ensures optimal protection against harmful ultraviolet light.