Imagine having found and bought that perfect work of art; it's time to start thinking about its presentation. But how does that work, what practical or aesthetical reasons should be considered? VanGoghle is here to help you out and we have listed 4 reasons why framing is so important:

1. Artistic – During the 19th century, instead of regarding frames as an institutional, utilitarian element, people started to favour frames with a strong connection to the accompanying painting, often designed by the artists themselves. Such frames would enhance the paintings, while also serving as a barrier against the outside world. Over the years, the appreciation of these tailored frames has grown and the general approach to framing became one of matching a specific style of painting with its historically approved style of frame. Nowadays however, anything seems possible: Contemporary artists disregard traditions and deliberately combine historic frames with cutting edge art, or discarding frames entirely.

When choosing the right frame for your own artwork it helps to be aware of the historical context, as artists as well as artistic movements often prefer certain types of frames.

2. Commercial – It is a generally acknowledged fact that frames influence buyers. At the same time frames make works more sellable, as it gives the work a finished look. Because of that, contemporary artists often prefer simple, non-distracting, easy-to-appreciate frames in order to appeal to a wider public. These frames hardly interfere with the work itself, making potential buyers less likely to be put off by the frame. Auction houses adopted the strategy of showing no frames at all in their catalogues, unless they are an integral part of the work. By doing so, they eliminate the influences of existing frames, giving people the opportunity to view unbiased.

When selling works of art, keep in mind that frames can easily turn out to be deal breakers; when buying works of art, keep in mind that reframing is always a possibility.

3. Presentation – The importance of framing becomes especially apparent in the presentation of a work of art. The correct frame can mean the difference between a perfect, coherent and seemingly obvious combination and a mismatched, distracting one. The frame helps define the boundaries of the artwork and size does matter: a large frame can reinforce a work of art, whereas a smaller frame can highlight its softness. Not surprisingly, this is where one’s taste comes into play most. Interior design, architectural features, personal preferences and the overall context have to be considered. In addition to that, the work itself is a crucial factor, as the right frame can bring out its strengths and complete a composition.

When choosing the right frame, try to take all these factors into account. A professional framemaker will advise whenever necessary and might come up with unexpected solutions.

The driftwood sample on the right washes out the work, whereas the left one compliments its tonality.

4. Conservation – Generally speaking, paintings endure less stress from their environment than for instance works on paper. The former needs frames to offer structural support and protection, but the primary judgment in framing paintings is a visual one. The latter can benefit from so called ‘museum quality framing’ or ‘conservation framing’. In those cases extra precautions have been taken to ensure the best possible conditions: First of all, a spacer (passe-partout) can be used to keep the paper surface away from the glazing, to reduce molding due to condensation. Secondly, framemakers recommend conservation quality glass or acrylic in order to reduce damages by UV rays. Thirdly, a paper dustcover stretched across the back prevents dust particles and tiny insects from affecting your work of art. Make sure the paper cover is acid free, thus preventing additional damage caused by the acid.

Nowadays, it is common practice for framemakers to combine aesthetically pleasing frames with practical considerations to help you enjoy your work of art the best possible way.

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