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A little "light" reading...

We love frames.  The more we learn, the more we want to know...

Why Art Buckles in a Frame — And How to Prevent It

Written by Mark Rogers


As artists, we enjoy the process of putting our vision on paper. Inspired by the striking architecture of a city, photographers capture angles and textures, telling a story with a camera. Or maybe the butterflies and botanicals in your own back yard stir you to put paint, pen or pencil to paper. Either way you’re in the zone, doing what you were made to do.

When the time comes to frame your masterpiece, the last thing you want is for the paper to buckle in the frame, tainting or even ruining all your hard work. But how do you prevent it?

The big buckling bummer

Why does paper art sometimes buckle even once it’s protected in a frame? Because temperature and humidity fluctuate, even indoors, and paper expands and contracts with the changes. Glass transfers heat faster than air does. When paper art is directly touching the glass within a frame, the paper will react to humidity changes around the edges before the middle of the paper, causing buckling.

In addition, the backing of the frame and the paper of the artwork do not expand and contract at the same rate. When the backing shrinks, the paper buckles.


Ways to Prevent Buckling - Artists

With the glass and air quality seemingly working against your creation, what’s an artist to do? The main way to keep paper art from buckling is to not tape down all the edges of the paper, because the paper and the backing to which you tape it will not expand/contract at the same rate. So when the backing shrinks, the paper has no choice but to buckle. Instead, frame spacers and mat board can be used to help hold down the edges without tape. If you’re using a mat, mount the image with photo corners or T-hinge mounting so the paper is free to expand/contract independently of the mounting board.

(If you’re not using a mat, the frame is the same is already the same size as the image, so it doesn’t need to be mounted. However, if you want long-term archival framing you should use frame spacers to keep the art off the glass.)

Using mat board and spacers allows air to circulate in the space between the art and the glass, helping keep a steady humidity level over the whole artwork. So as the art, mats and backing are expanding and contracting “freely,” buckling can be kept to a minimum. Sort of like how skyscrapers are constructed with some “sway” built in, so in high winds the building can shift without damaging the structural integrity. But I digress.

Ways to Prevent Buckling - Photographers

For photographers, the preferred way to keep a print from buckling is to dry mount the image before framing it. In this case, the image is permanently adhered to the backing board, which then forces them to expand and contract together.

By the way, dry mounting is semi-archival if you mount your work to archival backing board. However, it isn’t museum-archival because it obviously can’t be removed from the backing board.

Paper choice can help

Using specific types of paper can also deter buckling, according to Drew Hendrix, President of Red River Paper.

“Resin-coated photo papers, like UltraPro Satin and Polar Gloss Metallic, tend to resist warping better than other paper types,” Drew says. “Heavier, thicker papers also tend to stay flat. Matte papers and papers with no coating on the back can absorb and release moisture readily, and they are more prone to warp. If you use these types of paper, dry mounting is recommended.”

The evolution of frames and their relationship to architecture, PART 1

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 by PML

Picture frames, from gilded mediaeval polyptychs to the contemporary mouldings we use today, have an intimate connection with elements of architecture – in their structure, the profiles of mouldings, and the kind of ornaments with which they’re decorated. This is partly because frames most often function like doors or windows: they are openings onto other worlds or different visions, and an architectural border to the opening helps the mind of the spectator to focus on those separate spaces, and to isolate them from surrounding reality.

(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)


‘I have been interested in frames as long as I have been interested in pictures’ 
— Heinz Berggruen

I flew to Paris, in 1991, you flew in those pre Eurostar days, with the art journalist Susan Moore, to talk with Heinz Berggruen, the noted dealer and collector, about his taste in antique frames for framing his pictures. The Berggruen Collection of classical modern art, including works by Picasso, Braque, Cézanne, Seurat, and Van Gogh, described by the then Director, Neil MacGregor, as ‘a collection of heroes’ was temporarily exhibited in newly refurbished rooms in London’s National Gallery and had just opened.  The collection was noted for its taste and consistently high quality. The same uncompromising eye that shaped his selection of works of art, as a dealer and as a collector, also concerned itself with their presentation and I wanted to ask him about his personal choice of frames. ‘I have been interested in frames as long as I have been interested in pictures’ said Berggruen.

(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)

Letting the Frame Speak for the Artist and the Era


By J. Peder Zane

Oct. 28, 2015


To appreciate one of the most provocative developments in art, museumgoers are shifting their gaze from the dance of shadow and light, color and texture that graces the canvas to consider the painting’s essential but often ignored partner: the frame.  


The art world equivalent of Ginger Rogers — in the sense of making the main attraction look good — frames have long subtly shaped the viewer’s experience while being taken for granted.

But now frames are experiencing a renaissance of attention and respect from both museum curators and collectors. “I don’t remember a single discussion of frames in graduate school,” said Mark Cole, curator of American paintings and sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Now frames are increasingly seen as rich areas of study and as precious historic objects that must be preserved.”

(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)



The rules for displaying art are changing, say the masters of modern-day framing, who suggest putting your Picasso in a heavy-gilt number

and your Warhol in a Plexiglas box

Back in 2013 a photograph of a lost van Gogh painting, A Vase with Five Sunflowers, was discovered in the archives of a Japanese museum. The significance of the discovery was not confirmation of the painting’s existence (sold to a Japanese collector, it was known to have been destroyed in a fire during World War II), but that it showed the painting in its original frame, as chosen by van Gogh himself. Instead of the ornate gilt frames most often used to display the paintings of the Impressionists, the Dutch artist had opted for a simple wooden frame painted orange, a color that complemented and accentuated the vibrancy of the artwork itself.

(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)

Art News World

APRIL 30, 2015

What goes around: The art of framing

The right frame doesn’t just set off a painting to perfection, it can also increase its sale value. So why are they so often overlooked? A new exhibition at the National Gallery aims to give frames their due, as Emma Crichton-Miller reports


(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)

Edge trimming

From Van Gogh to Matisse, great painters have always agonised over framing their work. So why does nobody notice?


By Phil Daoust

First published on Thu 2 Jan 2003 10.36 EST


Think of your favourite famous painting, the one you could describe with your eyes closed. Now try to remember how it is framed. A riot of gold-leafed carvings? A simple strip of ebony? Nothing at all? A tenner to a penny says you haven't the faintest. The market in images has no room for frames. Magazines, newspapers, exhibition catalogues and art books act as if they don't exist, cropping them out of reproductions even when the painters saw them as integral parts of their work.

(The remainder of the article can be read by clicking on the title above)


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