(Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Frames_France_DMA_Reves_Collection.jpg)
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.