The following information is being provided to you as a guide to help assist you in making the proper decisions when you choose to frame a rare work of art on paper.

Matting and framing are the standard methods for protecting two-dimensional works of art, such as prints or works on paper. Matting and framing work on paper achieve two purposes. Mats and frames made with archival quality materials insulate the artwork in an acid-free environment, limiting damage from light, heat, humidity, and pollution. Framing and matting are also methods for protecting art against the dangers of handling.

Works of art, on paper, are among the most fragile of art objects. Because of this fact, you may want to consider mounting your artwork by attaching it to a rigid support or by fully enclosing it in a mat. Mounting art, on paper, to any kind of archival board will protect it against any inadvertent folding or bending.

When securing a work of art, on paper, to a board or mat, only acid-free hinges should be installed. These hinges are often made of long-fibered Japanese tissue paper. Mounts and mats should always be made from archival materials. Matting boards should be acid-free and made of all rag fibers.

Along with a matted work, a semi-rigid backing board should be part of your framing package. This board will provide additional support to the back of the matted work and shield the rear side of the frame against dust and dirt The back of this rigid board should be taped to the rear of the frame, creating a closed environment, known as encapsulation.

The frame you select for your mounted piece of art is a more complicated structure than a mat but extends the same protective principles. In addition to protecting the artwork during handling and storage, an enclosed frame can prevent the intrusion of outside elements, such as dust and dirt, while maintaining a controlled environment.

The glass or acrylic glazing you choose can also be treated with ultraviolet filters to decrease the damaging effects of light. The frame itself bears a dual purpose, aesthetic and structural. The selection of a frame should be carefully considered to determine its effect on the visual appearance of the work. The frame should enhance the ideas expressed by the work of art. Keeping in mind a frame’s ability to extend or contain the internal dynamic of the art will help in making the appropriate aesthetic decision.

The glazed surface of a frame can be acrylic or glass. Glass, which is often less expensive, is easier to clean and more resistant to scratching. Glass is clearer than acrylic but may impart a greenish tint. The major drawback to using glass is its vulnerability to breakage.

Acrylic glazing is often preferred to glass because it is a better thermal insulator. Acrylic is less sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, so you have fewer problems with moisture and condensation. The drawback of using acrylic is that it scratches easier than glass and is more difficult to maintain. As stated above, both glass and acrylic can be treated with ultraviolet filters that can decrease the adverse effects of light.

Storing Works of Art On Paper

Prints and other works of art, on paper, when not mounted or framed should be stored in acid-free Mylar sleeves and laid flat in a horizontal position in a concealed enclosure. All storage materials that come into contact with your artwork should be archival. The location of your art storage needs to be away from environmental intrusions and toxic substances.