Whether your purchase of a limited edition graphic is to round out your art collection or to brighten a favorite room, you should invest in quality conversation framing.
Conservation or museum framing of artwork by a skilled and reputable framer is essential, not luxurious. Preserve your work of art properly for its investment, sentimental and decorative value. The framing cost will be more than returned to you as you enjoy the artwork year after year.
Neglect to have it framed in museum style and you will almost certainly find that the potential investment or resale value will deteriorate along with the looks of the graphic. Keep these things in mind when you select a frame for your graphic. Talk about these points with your framer–to put your own mind at ease that your limited edition work of art is being properly preserved and framed.
1) Never cut the margins of the artwork. Never fold the edges of the paper. Have it framed as is.
2) The artwork should never be permanently mounted. Instead, be sure the framer uses acid-free hinges to secure the top of the artwork to 100%, acid-free ragboard. Hinges are traditionally made from Japanese paper, and secured to the ragboard by wheat or rice starch adhesive. Your framer may have other suggestions on a hinging material. But whatever your choice of a hinge, the graphic should always be placed on ragboard. Ordinary wood-pulp backing material will not do. The acids contained in such boards will stain the graphic over time.
3) Be sure that glass or acrylic sheeting is used to protect the face of the artwork from dust, moisture, insects, etc. The graphic should not touch the surface of the sheeting, however, since moisture condensation inside the sheeting could stain the artwork or cause mold growth. Separate the graphic from the sheeting by a ragboard mat or by ragboard fillets (separators) used inside the moulding.
4) If you store your graphic prior to framing, keep it between two sheets of good-quality acid free board away from light, in a place safe from insects or from other substances which could damage, tear, or stain the paper.
5) If you have purchased a valuable but damaged print, ask your framer to recommend a paper restorer. If you prefer not to restore the work, have your framer mount and frame the artwork, as is. Do not attempt any restoration yourself since this might further damage the print.
6) The material used to fill the back of the frame can be just as important as those that touch the artwork itself. Corrugated cardboard should be avoided, since it is highly acidic. There are better grades of boards available to the framer. Even if you must pay a little more for them as filler material, you will avoid the risk of acid damage to your graphic.
7) A dust cover, attached to the back of the frame, is necessary to protect the print from pollution and to keep it clean. Kraft paper, attached with polyvinyl acetate glue, provides a suitable dust cover.
8) Consider having small bumpers placed on the bottom back edge of your frame. Bumpers keep the frame away from the wall, let air circulate behind the frame, and keep the dust from settling on the back.
9) When your graphic is framed, hang it with pride–but be careful to keep it healthy. Avoid hanging it in direct sunlight or over a radiator or fireplace. It could also stand a vacation from time to time! Periodically take it down and store it away from insects, heat, humidity, and strong light. Artwork is meant to be enjoyed, and the enjoyment may last longer if the print isn’t seen day after day and is kept in top condition.
10) A final point: Ask your framer to give your artwork a periodic check-up–like an automobile check-up every three to five years. Your framer could take your artwork out of the frame and examine it for light damage, mold growth, insects, loose hinges, etc. If it has been properly framed to begin with, your artwork should be free from acid staining and its deterioration in this regard shouldn’t be a problem.