Recently, I gave 3 artworks for framing. One of them - a pen and ink drawing had been lying unframed in a brown paper envelope for the last 5 years. Fortunately for me, it seemed in fairly good condition, however the edges were slightly frayed. Many of us buy paintings and if there is no place to hang them, we tend to stack them in the cupboard or against the wall in a corner, and then forget all about them. Paintings are delicate and fragile, and they are very susceptible to atmospheric conditions. We will talk more about care and conservation of paintings in future, but before that we should know a little bit about framing. Framing is not only about beautifying an artwork; in fact, a good frame should help in its preservation as well. When you spend thousands on an artwork, you should give some thought and money in choosing the right frame. A good frame supports the painting, prevents it from bending or distorting and also protects it from moisture, ultraviolet rays and dust (when it has a glass front).
It is important to go to the right framer, who will help you choose the right frame. He will be able to guide you on whether you need a mount, should the painting be glass protected, do you need ultraviolet-resistant glass, what are the cost implications and so on. He will also ensure use of acid-free matte, pre-treated backing boards and wood for the frame (however, synthetic frames are more popular now).
For my black and white drawing the framer suggested a white mount and a simple black frame. Why not a heavy ornate frame? The reason is that a thin strip of black frame will demarcate the space on the wall, and will draw attention to the drawing, and at the same time not detract from it. A beautiful work of art should speak for itself, an ornate, or an over embellished frame will only add clutter.
So how do you choose a frame? Opt for a frame that will complement the painting. A frame that is too bulky or embellished can completely overshadow the artwork. In fact, many art collectors usually opt for simple and minimal frames that will provide the necessary hardware support without becoming overwhelming. So, the next time you invest in a painting, make sure you frame it properly to protect your investment.
(Published in Bangalore Mirror)