Robert Kulicke

To aim at originality directly head on is the only certain way of never arriving there. Such an effort
can only result in a self-conscious novelty. True originality is always a byproduct of the search for a
technical-esthetic solution to a technical-esthetic problem.” Robert Kulicke

Robert Moore Kulicke (1924 – Dec. 14, 2007); American artist, frame maker, and teacher. Though most influential for modernizing the design of picture frames, he was also a noted painter of small and delicate still lifes, as well as a jewellery maker credited with reviving the ancient goldsmithing technique of granulation.

Born in Philadelphia, where his formal studies included advertising design at the Philadelphia College of Art, while independently he studied the art collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Returning home after serving 3 years in the Army during World War II, he became interested in picture framing. Prior to opening his own framing business in New York City in 1951, he traveled to Paris on the GI Bill, studied painting with Fernand Léger, and apprenticed himself to several framers.

In New York he befriended the Abstract Expressionists Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, and designed frames based on a simple band of polished aluminum that would be used on hundreds of works by these and other Modernists. The "Kulicke frame", a tasteful welded design, was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in 1956 for use in traveling exhibitions; he subsequently also designed a Lucite frame for the museum's photography collection. A floating frame he created in the late 1950s was used by the Modern on some of its most popular masterpieces after the museum's expansion in 1984. For these widely imitated designs, The New York Times referred to Kulicke as "the most innovative and influential picture frame designer in the United States"....
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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