Picture frames can be works of art in their own right, and they have been featured as such: some of the world’s best art galleries have dedicated special exhibitions solely to highlight picture frames, including London’s National Gallery and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are even auction houses specializing in picture frames, offering interested customers centuries-old frames with price tags in the thousands.
While there are plenty of ways to lower your picture framing costs, including purchasing ready-made picture frames or skipping the archival mat board, these tactics won’t work on these particular frames — namely, the most expensive picture frames in the world.
Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’
In 2017, the art world collectively held its breath when a recently rediscovered original Leonardo da Vinci work, Salvatore Mundi, was finally available for sale; it is one of only 20 known works by the artist. The work of art, which was put up for auction by Christie’s in a frame specially selected for it, fetched a record-breaking price of just over $450 million.
New York-based antique frame and art restoration company Lowy was tasked with framing Salvator Mundi. They selected a 16th-century Italian frame featuring a black finish and gold stenciled details; by itself, the frame is worth up to $50,000 — a price that some very famous works of art have sold for themselves.
Hyundai’s Digital Picture Frame
Details are scarce on this purported digital picture frame from South Korean manufacturer Hyundai, but if it truly does exist on the market, it’s one of the most expensive (digital) picture frames available. Said to be a large, four-panel digital frame that is so large that it can serve a dual purpose as a room divider, the frame has an estimated price of $70,000.
Munch’s ‘The Scream’
Edvard Munch’s famous The Scream was once the most expensive painting sold at auction when the gavel fell at $120 million back in 2012. Though the painting itself merits it as one of the most iconic images in the world, this version of the painting most likely reached such a high price due to the frame in which the painting was sold: the original frame features a rare handwritten poem by the artist himself. There are several versions of this painting, but only this one has the poem — without it, it most likely wouldn’t have reached that price.
Samsung’s ‘The Frame’
A more accessible type of picture frame, Samsung’s The Frame was launched into the market to much ado in 2017. It’s not just a picture frame, though, or even a digital picture frame — it’s actually a television. With a starting price of around $1,000 for the smallest version, the television transforms into a real piece of art when not in use. Because of its interchangeable bevels available in a range of wood finishes, it can easily blend in with your existing décor — just like any other piece of art.
Though all of these famous frames are impressive, custom picture frames don’t have to cost nearly as much. Any of Frame Destination’s selection of wood picture frames and metal frames can you give your home a similar museum-worthy look — all without the hefty price tag.