Picture Framing and Art Preservation/Bad framing

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Question
I recently purchased a limited edition digital print from a gallery.  Upon delivery, the packing tape they used damaged the frame, as they taped directly onto the frame and the glue absorbed into the wood.  Also, the packing job left tape and adhesive marks on the back board.  The gallery replaced the frame (though I feel they did a poor job leaving scratches on the plexiglass).  However, I am now told that they cannot fix the back board since the print is attached.  Does this devalue the print?  Do you have any recommendations on what we can do?

Answer
Hi Linda,

I'm sorry you've had such a difficult experience with the gallery. It's only right that they replaced the damaged frame although, had I been the framer, I would have made sure to replace the acrylic as well if it was damaged.

As far as the potential devaluation of the print goes we sort of have two questions: Will the damage to the backing devalue the art, and will the fact that the art is permanently attached to the backing devalue the art.

First, the damage to the backing should not affect the value of the art. It's simply a functional part of the framing and not inherent to the artwork. As for the mounting, that may be a grey area. In framing we generally avoid permanently mounting artwork down, instead preferring to use methods that are easily reversible in the future. We want to be able to take the artwork out the frame years later in as close to its original condition as possible. You mention though that the art is a digital print. Many digital printing processes are of a nature that they look better mounted and the artist often creates them with that intention in mind. If this is the case then it was done according to the artist's intent and is not an issue.

The idea of a limited edition print is the fact that there are only a certain number of copies available. However, if you wanted to get a replacement for this the fact that it was digitally produced will make it much easier. Publishers will often replaced damaged limited editions if you provide evidence that the original is destroyed, such as by cutting off the signature and edition number and sending it to them. Then they can produce a new print, sign it and number it.  

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF

Expertise

I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.

Experience

I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Organizations
Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

Publications
DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Education/Credentials
Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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