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Art Frames & Framing Education
How to Conserve Your Fine Art Framing Investment
What is Conservation Art Framing?
When dealing with the framing of fine art, the materials and design used must not only enhance the beauty of the work by continuing what the artist started, but needs to also protect and preserve the integrity and value of the artwork. Sadly, many people do not consider conservation when investing in fine art frames for their pieces of art, risking potentially irreversible damage.
Art framing materials come in many types and many quality levels, only some of which are designed to protect and preserve the artwork for its lifetime. Making sure the materials you frame with are conservation quality is crucial when handling any piece that has value, inherent or sentimental. This process of designing and custom-framing with museum quality materials intended to extend the life of the artwork is what is called 'Conservation Art Framing'.
What type of protections do paper works of art need?
Even more than those on canvas or wood, artwork done on paper is very susceptible to environmental factors and damage. The fibers in a piece of paper expand and contract with variations in temperature, humidity, and light and can be severely affected by exposure to these and other factors. Paper reacts and interacts especially easily with certain chemicals, including the acids used in production of cellulose-based papers, boards and mats.
We have all seen brittle, crumbling antique photographs and artwork that have severely yellowed, or browned (acid burns), developed dark spots (called foxing), or faded from exposure to damaging UV rays. These are the telling signs of damage to paper that results when materials and methods are used that do meet the level of 'Conservation Art Framing'. Sadly, most of this damage can never be undone, and what can be reversed is quite costly.
Before you invest in art frames
If your artwork has already suffered damage from past exposures, a conservator can advise you on your options for restoration, if possible. In many cases, the best course of action may be to leave the piece as is, and merely move forward with protecting it from any further damage through museum quality conservation art framing with a qualified Master Framer, such as FrameStore. If restoration work is to be attempted, it must be completed before you bring the artwork in for framing.
It is essential that you avoid certain practices that can lead to further damage of your art, and possibly greatly reduce its value:
The art frame
Certain types of art framings and certain framing methods can leave your artwork open to severe environmental damage, or even directly damage or reduce the value of your works. Avoid these framing methods when conserving fine art:
Read more about conservation art framing and methods at the links below. Also, be sure to check out our pages on design and art theory for more help on how to custom-frame your fine works of art!
For more information on conserving and protecting your fine art visit our Art Framing FAQ section to see some of the commonly asked questions about how to custom frame art. You can also talk to an art and design expert at any of our eight southern California custom-framing stores.