Saturday, June 14, 2014

Art Terms Decoded - What does "Acid Free" Mean?

Pablo Picasso Linocut - Perfect Margin Conditions

Have you ever bought an original art print and encountered the term "Acid Free"?  Probably your art dealer or framer mentioned it? Well here is a useful definition of this important art term to give you some insight into protecting and preserving your fine art print investments:

Example of Acid Burn from non-archival framing

The term "Acid Free" refers to the materials used to frame an original artwork. When you frame a work of art - particularly a work on paper you must be extremely careful about the framing materials. Cardboard or regular tape have acidic properties that will eventually over time "burn" the paper or canvas that is exposed to them. The exposure to acidic matting, paper, or even storage materials causes a brown discoloration and deterioration of the paper. Many times the discoloration may occur underneath a frame and cannot be seen.
Pablo Picasso Etching with acid mat burn

When an artwork has been exposed to acidic materials and discolored it seriously devalues the piece. As mentioned in previous posts the investment quality of an artwork is heavily determined by the excellent condition of the piece. That is not to say that a damaged piece has no value, sometimes prints can be restored by a professional paper conservator depending on the level of damage, however this can be an expensive process.

To safely protect your fine art prints and artworks specify to your framer that you want only Acid Free or Archival matting, backboard, and hinging. We additionally recommend UV protective plexi-glas to further preserve your artwork.

For More Information on Art Conservation and Professional Art Terms visit our website:
We also welcome comments and questions regarding archival acid free preservation! / 310-270-4880

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