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It is essential you get your paintings framed to maintain their beauty, life and loveliness. Colors tend to fade if not framed properly. Mold and mildew may set in, totally ruining your art.
Framing alone does not guarantee you the best for your precious artwork. If not properly executed, wrong techniques and materials can do plenty of damage to your painting. Acids wear away the fabric and affect the pigments.
The importance of framing right cannot be overstated, especially if you have a very valuable artwork or if it’s something that has considerable sentimental value. Since the materials used, the technique employed and the craftsmanship of the framer play an important role, make sure you get your artwork framed at a reputed place.
Decide Whether You Want Your Art Framed
All art does not warranty framing. Varnished art can be displayed frameless. Watercolors, gallery wrapped art work, pastels and drawings do not require framing. Consult your framer and check what is best for your artwork.
Oil paintings on canvas also do not require framing.
There is actually no limit to what you can choose to frame. Posters, personal memorabilia like wedding signatures and children’s art, vintage scarves and even certificates and diplomas can be framed.
When taking your painting for framing there are a few questions you should definitely ask your framer to ensure you get the right results for the right price.
What to Keep in Mind When Taking Your Art for Framing
Framing is an art in itself. It plays a very important role in the overall aesthetics and longevity of your artwork.
When you take your precious possession to the framer, it helps if you know what processes and procedures are going to be involved in getting it framed.
Upping your knowledge about framing techniques will help you have an educated and rewarding discussion with your framer. Here are six questions you absolutely must ask your framer.
1. How Safe Is My Artwork at Your Store and Where Will It Get Framed?
This is an important question because the safety of your artwork cannot be compromised. If the framer has in-house framing facilities take a look around and get a first-hand idea about how they function. The person you meet in the shop would also be involved in all the activities so have a detailed discussion with him as well.
If your art is going to be shipped somewhere for custom made framing, get to know of the steps involved. Ask about the quality of workmanship, expertise and the technology and equipment used.
All reputed framers provide insurance protection to your art, so that in the case of any inadvertent mishap you will not suffer, and will be duly compensated for your losses.
2. Do You Make Use of Archival Quality Materials?
The quality of the materials used and the kind of framing techniques employed will affect the longevity and the appearance of your artwork.
The modern and scientific framing process makes use of acid-free materials especially for backing and matting purposes. Acid is the primary culprit that damages and breaks down paper and causes color pigments to fade.
Quality mats used in today’s framing techniques are 100% acid-free and made from cotton or linen rags, or from alpha-cellulose. They are completely lignin free and are considered to be of the highest quality.
Acid-free and archival museum boards or foam boards are used for mounting. These backing boards also do not damage your artwork in any manner. You can use these mounting boards for oil paintings as well to protect the canvas.
3. What Is the Mounting Process Employed?
You should definitely consult with your professional framer as to what is the best mounting technique for your art.nIf you possess a poster or a print then dry mounting will ensure it looks aesthetically pleasing, is wrinkle-free and stays flat without buckling. Dry mounting can be permanent or partially reversible. If your art work is rare and valuable, then dry mounting is an absolute no-no. It will reduce the value of your art to almost zero.
Hinging is archival and of conservation quality. In this process the painting or art piece is attached to the mounting board using linen tapes or other hinging materials. Archival hinges include acid-free adhesives or Japanese paper using organic starch as adhesive.
4. What Mat Should I Choose for My Artwork?
Choosing the right mat can be painstaking and time-consuming.
A lot goes into getting your mat right. The color palette of your artwork, its size, the place where you want to hang it and the overall coordinated look you want to achieve.
Consult with your framer and get to know of the options and choices he offers before making your decision.
As stated earlier, ensure the mat used is acid-free and is ideally either an alpha-cellulose or a rag mat.
5. Which Glass Should I Go For?
The type of glass you choose depends on the level of UV and glaze protection you want.
Regular glass will suffice for most purposes. The drawback of regular glass is that it is very heavy and does not offer good UV protection. Non-glare variants offer glare protection but has a frosted appearance.
Acrylic glass, also known as Plexiglass, is a cheap and cost-efficient option. It is very light and will not shatter into dangerous splinters in case of an accident. It is available in regular and non-glare variants. Acrylic glass offers up to 60% UV protection.
Museum glass is the best option and unsurprisingly it is also very expensive. However, you may not require it unless you have a very valuable masterpiece. It offers close to 99% UV protection and is almost invisible to the naked eye.
6. How Much Will It Cost to Get the Best Frame for My Work?
Sometimes you may find that the frame costs more than the artwork itself. A $20-poster measuring 24×36 will cost a considerable amount to frame. You have to take into account the labor cost as well as the cost of materials used. Good quality backing boards and alpha-cellulose mats are expensive. A mahogany frame will cost more than a cheap plastic one. Museum glass and archival framing are also premium services.
Custom framing will give you the benefit of getting a unique and one of a kind artwork in your home. Ensure you get a complete and all-inclusive estimate before handing over your artwork.
A reputed, bankable and quality framer will be happy to answer all your questions and guide you through the various steps of the framing process. If you feel he is giving you vague answers or is not exactly sure of his workmanship, go somewhere else.
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Most of us possess beautiful paintings, vases, rugs, furniture and jewelry handed down from generations. Some of these precious possessions are displayed innocuously in our living rooms while some are stashed away in closets or carefully wrapped and stored away in the basement or the garage. Rarely do we think of their value or how much they are actually worth in hard dollars. We don’t have the time or the inclination to dwell on the possibilities until a random story appears in papers of an heirloom painting fetching the dumbstruck owner millions of dollars.
So is that painting in your attic really worth something? How can you find out if your great-grandmother’s beautiful oil painting is an antique masterpiece which can really prove to be a windfall?
TV shows and real-life stories of people discovering treasure in their garage or dumpster have proven to be a wakeup call for many of us. Many pieces of valuable artwork were lost by their owners during the various wars and ensuing continent-spanning relocations; many were passed down to ignorant and careless heirs; a lot were stolen; and many were bought and sold by ill-informed art lovers, all of which left a number of antique valuables gathering dust in the most unexpected of places.
So explore your dusty cellar and clean up your attic. Keep your fingers crossed to find a gem! Since you are reading this post you probably do have something on your hands. Here are a few tips to help you ascertain the value of your find.
Paintings Are of Several Kinds
First you need to make out what you have on you. Is it an oil painting or a watercolor? Is it an original or a less valuable print? And there are many more varieties that you should consider.
Prints of watercolors are very difficult to make out from the original, and require a trained eye to spot the difference. Rare prints of valuable paintings do command a very high price in secondary markets.
Watercolor paintings need to be closely examined under a magnifying glass to find out tell-tale signs that give away it is a print.
Brushstrokes are not as evident in a watercolor as in an oil painting. But you may be able to spot gradations, highlights or even spots where the artist has scratched out the layers of paint to reveal a bit of the white paper beneath. Other signs of original painting can be identified by closer and more expert examination.
Examine Your Possession
Most paintings have labels at the back that provide details of the work, the artist, the sellers and even the price.
The easiest way to find out more about your artwork is from the details in the label at the back. If the name of the artist and the title is available to you, research online and find out more about the artwork. You will get information regarding the number of prints and their value if the artist is well-known and the work is documented.
Many artworks also have the names of galleries or museums printed on labels. This proves the art is a reproduction or a print.
Prints Too Are Worth a Fortune
Prints too may fetch you your millions, provided you recognize them.
You probably are already aware of limited edition prints and how coveted they are by collectors. Signed and numbered prints of valuable paintings are very expensive. Here too, if you have the details on your artwork itself, Google to find out more. There is a wealth of information available online that can aid your research.
Do not have the misconception that an unsigned print is worthless. The practice of signing prints or reproductions has only been around for the last 100 years or so. Prior to that there were authorized prints that were sold by renowned artists unsigned. Picasso’s granddaughter is said to have sold many prints with her signature on them, which very much resembled the Master’s!
The earliest prints were in sepia or black and white. There were other practices as well like etching. Etching required the artist to make an impression of his/her work on a metal plate using acid. Etchings are then made of the engravings on the plate. Picasso, Rembrandt and Goya are said to have experimented with this art form which has been around since the 16th century. Etchings are a very niche area, so do ensure you get an expert to appraise your possession.
The Frames Tell a Different Story Altogether!
There are many prints and paintings that come in beautifully crafted frames. And even if your painting does not value a lot there are many antique frames that sell for tens of thousands of dollars. So do not throw away that grand old frame yet. Appraisers will be able to tell you if it is a Louis XV revival frame worth $20,000 or a Childe Hassam worth $50,000.
So the takeaway is that if you have a suspected valuable antique in your home, do not tamper with it in anyway. Do not strip the red polish, no touchups on the aging oil canvas, do not clean the painting and never throw away the original frames.
An art aficionado or a knowledgeable collector will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Specialty Prints Also Command a Premium
Specialty prints like political cartoons or pictures of important events of the time command a high price from niche collectors. There is a high demand for prints related to horses, royal life, football, flora and fauna, social issues, you name it, the variety and the vastness of the subject is mindboggling.
So You Have a Masterpiece in Your Garage, What Next?
Expert appraisals and evaluations alone can determine the monetary scope of what you possess. Galleries and art dealers do buy valuable pieces from the public, but you need to be doubly sure you have a good bargain. Most will be knowledgeable, honest and fair. But who would not love to land a life-changing deal? You cannot really blame them if your 5K oil canvas sold for millions in a matter of few months. So be sure before you strike a deal.
If the experts at reputed auction houses are convinced, they will definitely be glad to help you dispose your treasures. They will also be able to spread the word about the auction in the rarefied inner circle of art collectors and build a buzz around it.
The chance of finding multi-million dollar antique paintings in your cellar is very less. But there are still undiscovered artworks worth millions tucked away among people unaware of their existence. So if you happen to have one of them, you now know how to deal with your find.
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All paintings, pictures and posters look their best when framed perfectly. A frame is essential to bring out the beauty of the art and should present the art in the most desirable manner.
In the early days, especially during the period of the Masters, framers were also artists, and ornate and painstakingly created frames were the norm of the day. Frames help draw your eye to the artwork and you see it as the creator wants you to.
Frames help bring out the essence of the painting and draw a boundary with the surroundings. The ancient paintings were usually framed by ornate and carved frames that took elements from the paintings and proved to be an extension of the artwork itself. The frames were made to blend in with the art and helped put an emphasis on the theme or the idea that the painting strived to reflect.
The art of framing has since then grown to be much less than what it used to be during the heyday, mainly from the 17th century to the late 19th century, but the old pieces are still valued. Beautifully done European Baroque frames and Stanford White’s famous Gilded Age frames command spectacular prices in the art world.
Lovely frames are integral to your artwork. When you take your painting to the framer there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
All Frames Are Not Equal
The first thing you need to make up your mind about is the exact purpose for which you are getting your painting framed.
If the decorative qualities of the frame are of topmost priority, then you will have to focus completely on color, style and design. If you are concerned about the conservative qualities of the frame and the longevity of your artwork is the major consideration, then specifically ask your professional framer to address these issues.
When you work with qualified, experienced and reputed professional framers it is possible to have a happy balance between all your requirements.
Proper Framing Secures Your Art
The materials that are used in the framing process play a very important role in maintaining your art in a safe, secure and beautiful condition. Based on the quality and the nature of the materials used, the framing can very well be the best friend or the worst enemy of your art.
The matting, the techniques used to mount the art and the type of glass used for framing all have a strong impact on the artwork.
Acid-free or archival materials are recommended to prevent the painting from getting affected by the acidic conditions that may develop in the course of time.
No Tampering with the Original
Conservation mounting should always be preferred over dry mounting. It ensures the painting or artwork is mounted to the support or the framing structure in a non-invasive and reversible manner.
Dry mounting your artwork causes irreparable damage. The art is permanently secured to the mat or frame, and has got foreign objects attached to it which are impossible to remove. If you dry mount a valuable painting, photograph or a limited edition print, it will cease to be a valuable investment. No art curator or collector will consider buying dry mounted art work.
Style of Art Determines the Style of Frame
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting the right frame for your art work. The style, design and type of the painting determine the kind of frames that will look good with it. The artist and the age he belonged to will also have to be taken into consideration while choosing the apt frame, especially if you have an antique artwork.
You might think that getting a frame to go with your interior decor is a good idea, but then again, as stated earlier, it is best if the artwork alone is the sole determinant.
If you have a period painting featuring a landscape or other classical subjects, then a traditional golden frame, a beautifully carved mahogany frame, or a simple and elegant walnut frame will do complete justice to the art. Sharp and sleek contemporary lines do not blend in well with the timeless allure such artworks exude.
Abstract, Expressionist and other modern styles look great with sleek and non-fussy frames. If your artwork has transitional characteristics and has strains of both contemporary and traditional, go for frames that incorporate and bring out the ambivalent nature.nSize Too Matters
The size of the artwork also has to be taken into consideration while deciding on the frame.
Ideally, large-sized artworks will require wider and larger moldings and frames. But in several instances, a big frame may not be practical.
Floater frames are most suited in such situations. Floater frames add only a few inches to the painting and give an illusion of the painting or the artwork floating in the frame.
Another fact you need to keep in mind is that all frames in your home need not be of the same style. If you want more than one piece of art hung up in your living room, you can very well have an Expressionist painting and a classical art piece grouped together. Disparate styles clubbed together often produce a spell-binding effect. But do not overdo the eclectic look.
To Glass or Not to Glass
The glass used in framing also affects the life and the beauty of the artwork. The glass you choose plays a very important role in keeping out dirt, insects, particles and dust.
If UV protection is a major consideration, you should go for protective glasses that offer it. Anti-glare glasses can reduce glare almost entirely, but they endow a fuzzy appearance to the artwork within.
If you have an inexpensive artwork you can go for regular glass. It is the type that is commonly used. It offers close to 50% protection from UV rays. Regular glass has no anti-glare properties or scratch resistance. You have to be careful while hanging it up, since the broken glass pieces are dangerous, especially if you have kids at home.
If the weight of regular glass is bothering you, go for light-weight and shatter-proof acrylic glass. It is a safe and sensible option if you are keen to have a cost-efficient job. Acrylic or Plexiglass is available in regular and non-glare forms and offers up to 60% UV protection.
Conservation glass offers close to 97% protection from UV rays. There are variants offering reflection control which could notch up your costs, but are worthwhile, especially if you are going to exhibit your expensive artwork in sunlight-flooded rooms.
Museum glass offers best protection from glare and UV rays. It is expensive, but apt if you have a valuable artwork on hand that you want to preserve for generations.
A lovely piece of art deserves an equally beautiful frame. Do put in some thought and research while framing your artwork. The results will surprise and delight you.