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Old 07-05-2010, 02:09 AM
SunFace SunFace is offline
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Question Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

I posted this question in framing, but unfortunately I got no answers, and was hoping someone here has any advise.

I have an oil painting I made which is on canvas, but is not stretched, and was thinking on buying one of those pre made poster frames that brings a glass to frame it. Will that hurt the oil painting? Does the oil need to "breath"?

I would also need to know if one does this, the painting needs to be matted just like a pastel or a watercolor.

Thank you in advance for any help!
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:15 AM
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kadon kadon is offline
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

I don't know about ordinary glass, but I wanted to have an even sheen over an oil painting and covered it with 'non-reflective glass' which has been OK these past two years.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:06 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunFace
...Will that hurt the oil painting? Does the oil need to "breath"?
I would also need to know if one does this, the painting needs to be matted just like a pastel or a watercolor....


There is no problem in protecting an oil painting with glass, when the painting is completely dry (a few, or more, years, depending from the thickness of the layer and from the materials used).
No reason for matting it: it would lose the brilliance of its colors, mainly the dark ones.

Eduardo

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Old 07-05-2010, 09:35 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Why is an dryness an issue?
If the glass isn't in contact with the paint, I can't see why it would be a concern.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:03 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

From spending time with an art conservator, I am in much agreement with Eduardo - any new ( first several years = new) painting is best served with an even air flow in front and in the back so that it can get as much oxygen for the paint films to dry, cure and bond (and any given varnish finish you might have applied) - which means: do not use glass.

After this "young" painting has cured, it is ok to use glass though mostly it remains not entirely recommended by the art conservation community ( and not entirely un-recommended apparently). Paintings need to breathe is the net net issue. Not only that but they look better w/o even the best museum-quality glass!
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:48 PM
DGrau DGrau is offline
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

would simply purchasing the appropriate size stretcher bars and stretching the painting be an option? or in the case of an odd sized painting adhering it to a board cut to the correct size, and then framing it?
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:56 PM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

I have seen some traveling shows come through our art museum with very ancient oil paintings framed under glass, I guess to protect already damaged or fragile items, but the reason I paint in oils almost exclusively, rather than in watercolor or pastels, is because I don't want to put glass over my paintings! If you mount it onto a panel, and let it cure for six months, you can use either a high gloss or a matte damar varnish to diminish inconsistencies in the surface. And if you can't wait for some reason, you can use retouch varnish over it immediately, which will also lessen any differences in the painting's surface. But you would still want to put a lasting varnish on it in six months.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:17 PM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinwueste
From spending time with an art conservator, I am in much agreement with Eduardo - any new ( first several years = new) painting is best served with an even air flow in front and in the back so that it can get as much oxygen for the paint films to dry, cure and bond (and any given varnish finish you might have applied)

Why?

Slowing the drying/curing process would seem to protect and extend a painting's life. Purely in terms of conservation, a hermetically sealed frame would seem to be superior to no frame..?

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Old 07-06-2010, 09:07 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Sheeky
Why?

Slowing the drying/curing process would seem to protect and extend a painting's life. Purely in terms of conservation, a hermetically sealed frame would seem to be superior to no frame..?

Mark
Any oil paint needs: fresh oxygen for complete oxidation of the vegetal oils (even in its interior, not just on the surface), and:
fresh air, for complete elimination of any volatile components.
So, a hermetically sealed frame would be OK only for really well cured paintings.

Eduardo
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:19 PM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Any oil paint needs: fresh oxygen for complete oxidation of the vegetal oils (even in its interior, not just on the surface), and:
fresh air, for complete elimination of any volatile components.
So, a hermetically sealed frame would be OK only for really well cured paintings.
This doesn't make sense to me.
If a painting was hermetically sealed, then it just wouldn't dry.
Considering that as painting continues to 'dry' into old age, it is unavoidable that it goes brittle, so couldn't retarding this process be considered a good thing? What damage could not curing do?

But we aren't talking about a hermetically sealed here and I would think that a painting under glass (not against the glass), would have ample oxygen to cure.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:55 AM
SunFace SunFace is offline
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Thanks so much everyone for the answers, although I am still a little confused!

Do you consider the painting dry when is to the touch, or a certain number of years? I am guessing that dry to the touch is not necessarily dry.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:58 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGrau
would simply purchasing the appropriate size stretcher bars and stretching the painting be an option? or in the case of an odd sized painting adhering it to a board cut to the correct size, and then framing it?

I am having a serious storage problem, so I have been taken some paintings out of the bars and reusing the bars … I know is probably not the best thing, but I do not want to run the risk of damaging the painting by re streching.
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:50 PM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eduardo Flores
Any oil paint needs: fresh oxygen for complete oxidation of the vegetal oils (even in its interior, not just on the surface), and:
fresh air, for complete elimination of any volatile components.

You make a wet painting sound like a toxic time bomb. I agree with Ron and think that slowing down the curing process would help not hinder preservation. However, as said, we're not talking hermetically sealing here.

I often frame smaller paintings behind glass after they have thoroughly dried and been varnished. The reason is simple, it vastly reduces dust, scratches, damage from smoke, dirt etc.. For larger paintings the weight of the glass makes the process much more dangerous and inconvenient. Paintings do get amazingly dirty when in the open air.

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Old 07-07-2010, 05:25 PM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunFace
Thanks so much everyone for the answers, although I am still a little confused!

Do you consider the painting dry when is to the touch, or a certain number of years? I am guessing that dry to the touch is not necessarily dry.

I think that it's common to not consider an oil painting truly dry for many years.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:53 AM
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Re: Can you frame an oil painting behind glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Sheeky
You make a wet painting sound like a toxic time bomb...
Sorry that you understood this way: I never thought to say such a stupid thing.
I appreciate thoughtful observations, not doubtful humorism.

Eduardo
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