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How to display and protect your art at home: preservation framing

How to display and protect your art at home: preservation framing

Artwork brings great joy to your home– more so if you’ve chosen work with spiritual meaning like some of the contemporary works coming from Jerusalem like paintings, prints, and drawings by contemporary Jewish artists. It can take a while to fully appreciate the meaning of a work of art, especially those that relate to Torah themes in a contemporary art context. It’s worth protecting and displaying your artwork with care so that the piece will safely and beautifully be a part of your life for the long term.

Preservation framing is an approach that prioritizes the long-term preservation of your artwork while still creating a gorgeous display piece you’ll be happy to live with every day. Framers using a preservation-based approach will never cut or alter your artwork, suggest saving money by using acidic materials, or use techniques that could harm your piece, like direct adhesive contact (as in a float mount) or mounting work on paper directly under glass. Even if you don’t think you’ll want to keep a decorative piece hanging in your home over the long term, you might find yourself regretting poor framing decisions in a decade after developing a sentimental attachment to the piece. Your piece might also surprise you– it can gain quite a bit of value over time, and a poor framing decision now can lead to a costly mistake later.

A preservation-based framing approach is the best way to preserve the value of your artwork into the long term, as well as its beauty. Every piece of the framing package has a role in protecting your artwork. If you’re using glass or acrylic glazing, make sure it’s UV-screening. Works on paper are especially vulnerable to the harmful components of the light that is all around us– even if they are not in direct sunlight. Paintings on canvas and mixed media works may have UV-resistant coatings integrated into the artwork, but might not, so it’s worth checking with the artist to find out what you need to do. UV damage is cumulative and irreversible, so avoid it from the start!

Make sure your framing materials are preservation-quality, which means they’re acid-free and won’t leach or out-gas harmful chemicals. The Professional Picture Framers Association recommends only 100% alpha-cellulose boards be used as a backing or a mat border, and that backing and filler boards be chemically inert. Once your piece is ready, ask your framer or your local contractor for advice about hanging the article in your home for maximum enjoyment and safety.

It’s impossible to predict what personal effects the artwork will have on you as you reflect on it, but protecting and displaying artwork is science. Jewish artists’ paintings, like those of Menucha Page, have the potential to inspire you every day– but only if you take care to treat the artwork as a precious object and take steps now that will help your art endure, for your enjoyment and that of others far into the future.

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