Framing art is a pretty ancient endeavor. The archeologists have found a well-preserved framed portrait in Egypt during an expedition. The hand-carved frames as we know them today have only appeared in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Choosing the right frame for an artwork is art in itself. Ideally, you would not need a frame for an oil painting. As nothing is ideal in this world, the best frame for a painting is the one that doesn't distract the attention from the artwork itself.
During the early twentieth century, painters disregarded frames entirely. So, paintings were not framed and for good reasons, the piece of art was considered a complete object without the need for secondary "enhancements".
Frames came in with good enough reasons. First of all, a frame will help protect a painting, its edges if it’s a canvas. In case it’s a watercolor or pastel drawing the mount and the glass protects the piece from external factors such as humidity which may affect the piece.
The only situation when an oil painting would be framed and put under a glass is at museums in order to protect it from touchy art enthusiasts or more importantly - vandalism. Otherwise, in rare cases, oil paintings on paper or board are put under glass but that is an exception from the rule as the "true" oil painting as we know it is on canvas.
The color and finish of a frame may emphasize the artwork and at the same time complement the interior design of your home. Ornate frames are compatible with darker interiors and especially with houses that are more traditional or feature a Victorian style.
Impressionist paintings are most compatible with lighter-colored wooden frames. Most of the impressionist artworks would feature an earthy palette and that is why it is recommended to make sure the frame would be made out of the type of wood included in the list below:
It makes sense to avoid frames that have a very similar color to the painting itself. Also, it is recommended to take into consideration a slight contrast between the frame and the painting. A generally light painting could be used with a darker frame because the contrast would clearly highlight the work of art.
It is not recommended to choose a frame color that closely matches something in the oil painting. The best bet, in this case, is to use a complimentary color. When you are not completely sure it is better to choose an understated color than a color that is overstated.
Sometimes framing is not necessary. That is the case when the artwork is painted beyond its edges and wrapped around stretcher bars. In this case, the staples are not visible at all. That is why it is acceptable to display it without a frame.
In conclusion, when you are choosing a frame for an impressionist oil painting take care of the following advice:
A simple frame is better than an ornate one. Light earthy colors are a great choice. The recommended types of wood are cherry, maple, poplar, or the similar. An understated frame color is more preferable compared to an overstated one.
- A simple frame is better than an ornate one,
- Light earthy colors
- Cherry, Maple, Poplar wood, or similar
- Understated frame color better than overstated
- No frame is needed when the artwork edges are painted