Preservation/Conservation Framing

When purchasing framed artwork, it is wise to have it checked by a professional framer to be certain proper steps were taken to protect it. Improper framing could very well cause unnecessary deterioration resulting in a devaluation of the artwork.

Preservation framing uses appropriate materials to help prolong the life of the artwork by securing it in a physically and chemically stable package.

High-quality materials such as ultraviolet filter glass or acrylic, and 100 percent cotton or lignin-free and buffered mat boards, are standard components of a preservation-framing package. Your artwork must not be in contact with the glazing (glass or acrylic). Mat board that is used to support the artwork as a backing and for window mats should be 4-ply or thicker. If your framed art does not meet these basic requirements, it may not remain in its original condition for long.

A professional framer will frame your art using preservation materials, but that is only part of the process of preservation. You have a vital role to play in protecting your artwork. Art on paper or canvas is fragile. Paints, stains and pigments, as well as the paper and canvas, are all vulnerable to environmental conditions within our homes and offices. Too much or too little heat in a room, high humidity, poor air circulation, sunlight, and artificial light can cause irreparable damage to paintings, drawings, and prints.

Temperature and relative humidity must be controlled. A stable environment must be maintained in order to reduce the possibility of mold and mildew forming in the package. Although art cannot be enjoyed without light, it is important to be aware that light can cause permanent damage to prints, drawings and even paintings. Heat and light accelerate fading and discoloration of paper.

Avoid hanging your framed artwork on outside walls, above fireplaces or radiators, or near air conditioning ducts. Bathrooms, kitchens and finished basements are also places to avoid.

Works of art have many natural enemies. Don't be one of them. Protect your art and it will remain a treasure for a long time to come.

Look for the purple and white Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) member decal on a shop door or window!