A modest, gilded glass sign on the simple facade indicates the “Karl Pfefferle Workshop for Framing and Restoration”. Located in the heart of Lehel, one of Munich’s most traditional districts, this is the oldest specialist shop in the state capital.
Michael Pfefferle is the fifth generation to run the business. Visitors find him surrounded by his treasures: Almost 2,000 historical frames dating from all eras – from Gothic and Baroque to contemporary. The oldest pieces are around 800 years old.
“A new frame for an old picture – it just doesn’t look right”, states Michael Pfefferle with conviction. But what happens when no suitable antique frame can be found for a valuable old painting? Museums and private collectors frequently face this dilemma – and turn to the Rahmenwerkstatt Pfefferle for help.
Here, laborious craftsmanship results in perfect reconstructions of historical frames. In order to achieve this, joiners, wood carvers and gilders work using traditional methods. In the final step, an experienced gilder works to create the patina: He applies glazes, rubs some of the gold layer off in places and even drills wormholes in the mouldings. Finally he carefully applies some dust to the still slightly sticky top coat of varnish. This gives the new frame an air of antiquity.
A frame for eternityEvery frame that is produced in the workshop is a unique piece. The work is not limited to old oil paintings: Michael Pfefferle is also happy to create a new look for a photo of your grandmother, a collection of watches or an old Indian sari.
Even though a hand-crafted frame costs a lot of money – it’s not expensive, according to Pfefferle. “In a ‘cheap and cheerful’ age, in which many things are thrown away after just a short time, we create a product for eternity.” It can take a bit of time: Up to 300 working hours go into an elaborate, carved and gilded Baroque frame.
A traditional business with a worldwide reputationThe work of the Pfefferle family can be found all over Bavaria. Michael Pfefferle’s grandfather Karl led the traditional company into the limelight after the Second World War. Under his management, the company reconstructed the frame for the “Schaffner Altar” in the Alte Pinakothek and was responsible for restoring the Gothic wooden ceiling in the Hohe Schloss in Füssen.
He was also in charge of the restoration of the facades in Munich’s Frauenkirche and the reconstruction of the Renaissance organ case for the St. Anna Church in Augsburg. Today these old buildings radiate a new splendour. In this way, the family have made a crucial contribution to the preservation of valuable works of art, and Michael Pfefferle can proudly show his sons the work of their great-grandfather.