• Jane Campion

Should your frames match?

I have an idea that also works for people who buy art and are faced with the costly (but crucial) business of framing it. Artists often suggest that all the paintings in one solo exhibition, for example, should be the same, to standardise the "look" of the work. When the work goes to its new home, this probably means it is set in its own, very best frame to show off.

Should your frames match the home it will live in? Or should it match the genre of the painting? You can never tell what the latter is going to be. So I'm coming down on the side of standardising frames. And here're my main reasons. When we paint, we choose the size of our canvas to fit our subject. Or do we?

What if we had one or two standardised sizes of canvas that we order in? This would mean we could also standardise our frames - and use them again and again unless we sell them on. At my recent (and first solo) show, I couldn't afford to frame 33 works. Some had to go without frames. But I had a genius inspiration, remembering a long time ago buying a Swiss oil painting that came in a beautiful French frame that looked just as it should look - until I turned it around. On the back were clever little peg/clips which turned to lock the canvas firmly into place. No pins and no tape. Discussing this with my framer, we consulted his supply catalogue and there they were.

So when my buyers decided they didn't want the frame, because :

  • it didn't really fit their idea of a great match with the painting

  • it didn't go with the period of their home decor

  • they couldn't afford the high cost of a quality frame

  • they simply liked it out of the frame ...

...all I had to do was pop it out. Or pop an unframed one IN if one the above reasons was reversed and someone wanted an unframed one with a frame. Each of the buyers felt I really cared (which I did) and that they had some part in making the art sing for them. Hurray.

Just make sure your framer puts D-rings on for both a portrait and a landscape format.

PICTURE COMING! Email me if I forget and you want to see it!


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