Category Archives: Art Framing & Conservation

Most artwork benefits from the perfect mat and frame to set it off. Just as important is understanding how to prepare your art to stand the test of time.

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She slept over 100 years, never aging a day,

waiting for her prince to come.

Prince or not, how will your beautiful art age? The “time equals aging” equation comes to all things eventually.

It’s merciless. Your artwork will look like an old stack of newspapers (i.e. faded, brittle and disintegrating) unless you employ a checklist of conservation materials for your framing project.

Use these and your art will be a veritable “sleeping beauty” of stability for a hundred years.

Your best bet is to work with a serious conservation framer to cover all the bases because the materials involved have very particular specifications.

To wit:

  • Conservation framing uses acid free materials for the hinges, mat and board backing to prevent the buildup of vapors from the framing materials. Over time acidic vapors cause staining, fading, embrittlement, deterioration and actual decomposition.
  • The mat boards should be 100% cotton rag or high-alpha-cellulose content, acid free virgin pulp. Practically speaking, the mat provides a means to keep the artwork from touching the glass directly, which will help preserve it.
  • The backing should also be puncture proof and water resistant as well. Glazing materials, either glass (shatterproof to protect the art if the frame falls) or acrylic should be chosen for their ability to protect against ultraviolet (UV) light. In the case of photographs, special conservation matting is required because of the chemicals in the developing emulsion.

Sticker Shock – As you can see, just any old frame, made of non-specified materials probably isn’t going to do the deed of enhancing your artwork and preserving same for a long period of time. Of course, the specificity of conservation materials will naturally add to the cost of framing.

Don’t be surprised if your first choice of  “the right frame” could cost you more than the artwork itself.

Fortunately, you will be able to find more than one “right frame” if you decide in advance a price range for the framing expenses.


Related Posts

(Art Display Three Part Series)

Art Display # I: Selecting The Perfect Frame

Art Display #2: The Marriage Of Mat & Frame



This is part of an article published on It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion and updates.