(By Nalini S Malaviya)
A beautiful frame serves to draw attention to a work of art. But more than the decorative value of a frame, it is important to invest in the right kind of frame that will support the painting without damaging it in any way. We have seen in the past that artworks on paper are particularly fragile in nature and can get damaged easily. A good quality paper forms the basis of a good quality artwork, and is an essential element that contributes to the longevity of a painting on paper. However, if a poor quality wood or backing material is used for framing a painting that has been done on the best quality paper, it will eventually defeat the purpose.
If wood is used for framing, it is essential that it is pre-treated and seasoned appropriately. Wood can be highly susceptible to wood borers and other kind of pests that can spread to the painting and damage it irreparably. A bad quality backing for the painting can shrink or warp and again damage the artwork. If the wood is not properly seasoned, moisture can get in between the glass front and the painting. This can encourage mould to grow. Poor quality mats will yellow with age and may also become brittle over time, which in turn can affect the painting or drawing. The acrylic or glass cover should also be of good quality, for instance an ultraviolet (UV) protective glass can be used. This will protect the painting from the harsh effects of UV light to prevent it from turning ‘yellow’ or fade with time. The freshness of colors and pigments will also be maintained over the years. One should also avoid using adhesive tapes such as a masking tape, which can damage the mat with time.
If maintained properly, a good watercolour or drawing can last for a long time and one can enjoy its beauty and the freshness of colours for a long time to come.
(Published in Financial Times)