Displaying Artwork: Do’s and Don’ts

Be it your child’s first foray into the world of watercolors or the work of an up and coming artist, a piece of artwork should bedisplayed where it can be most appreciated. A frame is a traditional way ofshowcasing artwork made with paper, photo paper or canvass. However, with themany options available, where do you start? Do you go with antique pictureframes or a more modern frame? What shape? Would a circular picture frame workbetter or should you an oval frame?

To help you make your choice, here are some do’s and don’tswhen displaying artwork:

  • -Do choosethe frame that suits the medium. Landscapepaintings or portraits work well with vintage picture frames. Circularor oval picture frames complement portraits as well. Meanwhile, you can usemetallic frames for more modern artwork. Generally, frames with clean andsimple lines work for most artwork and photography since this does not shiftthe focus from the piece.
  • -Don’tallow the art to be overpowered by the frame. The frame should drawattention to the artwork, presenting it in the best possible light. That is whyyou should check the thickness of the frame, the kind of moulding it featuresand the width of the matting. All these may have a tendency to overpower theframe.
  • -Do hangthe frame at eye level. This way, the person looking at the artwork doesnot have to strain his neck but just appreciate the artwork comfortably. Therule of thumb is an average of 4.5” from the floor. This is where the eyes endto rest naturally when someone is looking at the wall.
  • -Don’tscrimp on framing materials. If the artwork is something you want to last,be sure to use archival material, which is acid and lignin-free. This minimizesthe damage your artwork may experience due to contact with acidic materialsthat can burn the paper or cause discoloration and brittleness.
  • -Do use UVProtective glass. Glass helps protect your artwork from dust and grimyhands, but even convex lenses can’t protect the artwork from the damage causedby exposure to light. The solution would be to equip your frame with UVprotection that filters the light coming into the frame and hitting theartwork. This protects from light but does not affect the way you view andenjoy the artwork.
  • -Don’thang a small piece on a wide wall or vice versa. Proportion is the key. Itdepends on how much space you have to work with. If you have a small piece ofartwork, some creative use of wide matting can do the trick of making theartwork look big. Also, when hanging multiple frames, space the frames evenlyand not too far apart.
  • -Do makesure that the artwork is hung properly. Don’t take the risk of having yourartwork come falling down because of flimsy hooks. There are a lot of picturehanging systems available that can help ensure your frame is hung securely.
  • -Don’tforget your own sense of aesthetics. In the end, these do’s and don’ts aresimply guidelines. Trust your own sense of taste to judge whether your displaylooks good.
15th Mar 2014 Eric Morgan

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