The Art of Fine Art Framing

Private Collection

The framing of your original artwork, photography, or fine art reproductions should always be viewed as an art in itself. Whether the piece is in your home or in your office, or if it’s the first you’ve acquired or will be added to a larger collection, the framing will play a major role in enhancing not only the look but the life of your artwork. Here are seven tips to keep in mind when framing your artwork … whether it’s one piece, part of a growing collection, or an established one.

Private Collection


Frame to the piece, and avoid framing to the room. Whereas you’ll likely change your paint color, update your curtains, buy a new couch or replace your carpeting, the artwork you’ve chosen to be a part of your daily life will endure … perhaps generationally. So look at each piece individually and frame to that individual piece.


Let the artwork keep its leading role. A well-chosen frame will enhance the beauty of your artwork, not distract from it. A frame is at its best when it complements the piece in a strong yet subtle way. Consider the style of the art. Is it traditional? Contemporary? What time period it is from? When the frame corresponds to the style and time period of the art, it will provide a solid supporting role.


Know exactly what you’re framing. If your artwork is a watercolor it will need different attention than an oil painting. Is it a photograph? A pastel? An original? A fine art reproduction? An embellished giclee? What is its substrate? Canvas? Board? Be sure you know the medium and the substrate as you can work with your framer to best preserve and protect your piece. This will add to its value and not decrease it.


If considering matting your artwork, keep tip number one in mind and mat to the piece, not to the room. Look at the light and shadows within the artwork and keep to that spectrum. Never use a mat that is brighter than the lightest area or darker than the deepest shadows. And again, avoid matching colors in the room … stick to those you find in the artwork.


Sometimes, your artwork will simply not need a frame and that’s just fine. Don’t feel like you must frame a piece if it looks best on its own. When an artist paints right to the edge of their canvas, that dynamic edge can be lost if it’s covered by a frame. However, if you still wish to frame such a piece, talk to your framer about options that will allow you to still glimpse those edges.


It’s possible your piece came framed by the artists or gallery you acquired it from. This often works in your favor. However, at times you might need to reconsider that framing. It’s possible that it was framed for a show or with the gallery’s collection in mind. Consult with the gallery about framing options that would better suit the piece within your collection.


Find a reputable framer. Your trusted gallery is typically the best place to start that search. Ask for a recommendation. A great framer will work with you, learning about your artwork and your collection. They will be knowledgeable about options and ready to share those with you. They will also likely not be low-budget, which is a good thing. This is your artwork. Give it the frame it deserves.

Although the specific artwork seen in this blog is not available for purchase, as each is part of a private collection, we are happy to help you find a like piece if you see one that is a must-have.