Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Art (or Copies) as investment?

Art (or Copies) as investment?

According to a recent Slate article written by Daniel GROSS as quoted below; one could also consider to invest in the copies market?


Is art a good investment?

Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty. Click image to expand.

Fine art is making huge financial news this week, what with cosmetics-heir-turned-super-collector Ronald Lauder paying $135 million for a Gustav Klimt painting and Sotheby's and Christie's posting gigantic numbers.

Rating masterpieces by their sales prices may seem irredeemably gauche and beside the point. Nobody would pay $135 million, or $10 million, for a painting for solely economic reasons (unless it was a dealer who had a buyer lined up). Collectors like Lauder buy paintings for prestige, status, ego, or a passion for collecting. Lauder has spent huge sums of the family's fortune creating a jewel of a museum devoted to Austrian and German art.

But at these prices, fine art certainly represents a huge investment. And not even billionaires like to see the value of expensive purchases decline over time. So, it's worth asking: Is fine art a good investment?

For the last several years, two professors at New York University's Stern School of Business, Michael Moses and Jiangping Mei, have been compiling data that allows them to track the long-term performance of fine art. The result is the Mei Moses Fine Art Index. (Registration is free.)

The Mei Moses index focuses on mature artists whose works command significant prices at auction. They take the original sales price and then subtract it from the most recent sales price at Christie's and Sotheby's in New York and calculate an annual return for a single painting. So, for example, a J.M.W. Turner view of Venice sold at auction at Christie's in London on May 29, 1897, for $35,000 and then sold at Christie's in New York last April for $35.8 million—which yields about a 6 percent annual return for 109 years. Which is pretty darn good.

Moses and Mei have compiled 9,000 such repeat-sale pairs and add between 300 and 400 every six months, enabling them to compile an index. (The paintings in the index aren't all blockbusters. Moses estimates that the median size of recent transactions charted is about $200,000 or $300,000.) As their most recent update shows, over the last 50 years, stocks (as represented by the S&P 500) returned 10.9 percent annually, while the art index returned 10.5 percent per annum. And in the five years between 2001 and 2005, art trounced stocks. But not all art performs equally. In recent years, old masters haven't done so well, while American art before 1950 has been soaring—up 25.2 percent in the last year alone. And across categories, masterpieces (like the Klimt that Lauder just bought) tend to underperform lower-priced paintings by a substantial margin. Why? Like blue-chip stocks, well-known paintings by blue-chip artists are known quantities and offer safety and stability. As with stocks, the greatest opportunity for growth in art values comes when investors suddenly focus their attention on a hot new sector or name.

There are some obvious differences between Van Gogh canvases and Verizon shares. Art is far less liquid than stocks: You can't simply push a button and sell a Picasso tomorrow. And while you might assume that the fortunes of the art market are closely to tied to the fortunes of the stock market, Moses found that fine art actually has a very low correlation with stocks and a negative correlation with bonds. "In some sense, it's a good portfolio diversifier," says Moses.

Like stocks, art is susceptible to fits of irrational exuberance. In 1990, Japanese executive Ryoei Saito capped off the Impressionist art bubble by paying a whopping $82.5 million for Vincent Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet. Between 1985 and 1990, the Moses Mei art index returned about 30 percent a year—the same unsustainable rate at which the Nikkei grew in that period and at which the S&P 500 grew in the second half of the 1990s. Despite today's massive prices, Moses notes, the mood surrounding the art market is nowhere near as exuberant as it was when Western Europe's cultural patrimony was flooding into Japanese corporate boardrooms in the late '80s.

In recent years, financial whizzes have created investment products surrounding all sorts of stock, bond, and commodity indices. But there's been little effort to turn art into a security. In the 1970s, the British Rail Pension fund, with Sotheby's assistance, famously committed about $70 million to fine art. The huge portfolio it built up came to include works by Canaletto and El Greco and proved quite profitable—a compound annual return of 11.3 percent between 1974 and 1999. As Scott Reyburn notes, Britain's rail workers were fortunate that the fund chose to cash in a bunch of Impressionist and Modern works at the height of the bubble in April 1989.

More recently, funds have been created to allow rich people to invest in a portfolio of fine art assets. One of the funds, Fernwood Art Investments, created by a Merrill Lynch executive and a veteran of Sotheby's, inspired a Harvard Business School case study. But even in this hothouse environment, it failed to launch. The London-based Fine Art Fund, created by a former Christie's executive, is still in business but hasn't made much of a mark.

That's not surprising. Sure, the data shows that art performs well as an asset over time. But for the wealthy people expected to invest in these funds, much of the satisfaction of buying (or investing) in art is being able to hang it on your wall and show it off. Someone who is willing to commit a few hundred thousand dollars to art would probably be more likely to go buy paintings at Christie's than invest in a private equity fund that buys paintings at Christie's.

One of the great ironies of the art world is that artists rarely benefit as the value of their work appreciates over time. But one art fund is aiming to change that. Artists who join the Artist Pension Trust pool their pieces with those of other artists and then receive a stream of income down the road as the trust sells their pieces—and those of other artists. In other words, the best way to make money on art as an investment may be to give it away.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Modigliani - a genius born before his time

- a genius born
before his time


A review of the book “Modigliani: A Life” by Jeffrey MEYERS was published in The Sunday Times on 25th June 2006. The headline used was “The madness of the muses” by Deidre FERNAND. Her caption went on to read “He was decadent and immoral, and painted hundreds of alluring nudes. But the women Modigliani immortalised on canvas were left crazed and suicidal.” I disagree with her strongly on basing her argument with a gender bias which in the 21st century should be addressed and corrected


The opening paragraph launched straight into the drunkenliness of men at the turn of the 20th century in Paris because of its “relaxed licensing laws”. She went on to say :”“Modi”, as his friends called him, could drink till dawn and frequently did. One young woman, a lover of the Mexican artist Diego RIVERA, observed in Montparnasse (where Modigliani was staying) “Debauchery unlike anything I had seen before…I was so ashamed and revolted that I wept”.”

Such character-assassinating lines continued: “ Had Modigliani, the arch-boho, hung on instead of succumbing to drink, drugs and tuberculosis at the age of 35, he would certainly have taken his place alongside Picasso in the memoir. His racy life merited it. Here was an artist who defied all conventions of sexual morality, who proclaimed he wanted to paint the “mystery of the instinctive in the human race”.”

She then tried to be condescending by grudgingly giving back some recognition: “In his short career, Modigliani produced some of the most alluring nudes of the 20th century.

One of them, Reclining Nude (1917), sold for $26.9 million at Christie’s in New York.

Sensuous and earthy, these women have been likened to the Playboy centrefold. They are nothing like the classical nudes of Botticelli or Titian that he studied as a young art student in his native Italy. Confident and direct, Modigliani’s women gaze out of the canvas at you as equals. They are never demure. Never virginal.”” “Ouch!!!!” Is THAT what you really think lady? How biased can your view be?

For those who are interested in Modigliani’s works, they should at least view the DVD of the “Hollywood version” starring Andy GARCIA. Otherwise, surfing any other museums’ sites on the internet will more than satisfy Ms. FERNAND’s claim that as far as painting women is concerned; “…but there was one area where Modi could equal, if not outclass, the Spaniard (Picasso). WOMEN!” Simply put, if you are like me, an objective follower of his works and also his history; I take a totally different (man’s) view of his life and works and ALL I can say is that if you associate yourself with genius you run the occupational hazard of “being burnt” BUT please let’s NOT judge all others by your own low standard as evidently you ONLY have a biased “FEMINIST” opinion to offer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A conversation with Sara KORBANKA

A conversation with Sara KORBANKA

En conversation avec Sara KORBANKA

Sara, where do your inspirations come from ? I can see that India is present, but your art is so different from traditional indian art…

Well, yes, it is true that India is very present… Actually, I spent the first 12 years of my life in Maharashtra (that’s the region of Mumbai), and as I recently heard it said : “you can leave India, but India never leaves you”. As for the other influences, there is Celtic art, traditional medieval European illumination, and Art Nouveau.

Sara, d’où vous viennent vos inspirations ? Je constate que l’Inde est présente, mais votre art est si différent de l’art traditionnel indien

Oui, c’est vrai que l’inde est très présente… En fait, j’ai passé les 12 premières années de ma vie dans le Maharashtra (c’est la région où se situe Mumbai), et, comme j’ai récemment ouï dire : « on peut quitter l’Inde, mais l’Inde ne vous quitte jamais ». En ce qui concerne les autres influences, on peut retrouver l’art Celte, l’enluminure médiévale traditionnelle (européenne) et l’Art Nouveau.

What attracted you to illumination? What kind of art did you do before?

Ah, that is quite a funny story. I grew up holding crayons and paint brushes in my hand, like most children do. The thing is, most lay them down at some point, I never did. As for what kind of art I was doing, it was very varied.
One day in september 1997, I was rummaging through a friend’s bookshelf, and a book fell down, accidentally knocking me on the head on its way down. When I picked it up from the floor, rubbing my head, I saw that it was a book of illumination, the Book of Kells (VIIth to IXth centuries, Ireland).
As I looked at its pages, I started crying… for joy, for the dedication of the monks who worked at these minuscule details with such délicatesse, for the pure beauty of it all.
And as I looked at all the intricate interlace, it reminded me of India, curiously, and I felt a closeness in the lush, generous curves of both forms of art.

Right then, I decided to do a tryout, and started sketching. Several months later, my first piece of illumination, Tvameva, was born, blending India, Celtic art, some beautiful medieval illumination inspired by the Psautier du Duc Jean de Berry (circa 1380), and which decorates a text of hindu scripture that speaks of universal oneness

Qu’est-ce qui vous a attiré vers l’enluminure? Quelles formes d’art pratiquiez-vous avant ?

Ah, ça c’est une drôle d’histoire. J’ai grandi avec un crayon à la main, comme la plupart des enfants. La seule différence, c’est que la majorité d’entre eux finissent par poser le crayon un jour, et que moi je ne l’ai pas fait. En ce qui concerne les différents arts que j’ai pu pratiquer de par le passé, ils étaient très variés.

Un jour de septembre 1997, je farfouillais dans la bibliothèque d’une amie, quand un livre est tombé d’une étagère et m’a heurté le coin de la tête dans sa chute. Lorsque je l’ai ramassé, tout en frottant mon pauvre crâne endolori, j’ai vu qu’il s’agissait d’un livre d’enluminure, le Livre de Kells, (VIIème au IXème siècle, Irlande).
Tandis que je feuilletais ses pages, je me suis mise à pleurer… de joie, devant le dévouement absolu dont faisaient preuve ces moines qui travaillaient sur tous ces minuscules détails avec tant de délicatesse, devant tant de beauté.
Et tandis que j’admirais tous ces complexes entrelacs, je me suis rendue compte qu’ils me rappelaient l’Inde, étrangement, et j’ai ressenti une forte similitude dans les riches et généreuses courbes de ces deux formes d’art.

A ce moment là, j’ai décidé de faire un bout d’essai et j’ai commencé à dessiner. Plusieurs mois plus tard, ma première enluminure, Tvameva, était née, harmonisant l’Inde, l’art Celte, quelques très belles enluminures médiévales inspirées par le Psautier du Duc Jean de Berry (vers 1380), et décorant un texte tiré des écritures hindoues qui a pour sujet l’unité universelle..

I have seen that several of your works are rich with calligraphy. What are your sources ?

Basically, whenever I see an old page filled with practically unreadable writing, I am attracted to it. It reminds me of descriptions of wizard’s spellbooks, written in spidery magical letters… So, sometimes I try to decipher the page, and then I practice and practice the letters, just like when we were little and forming our first letters in the process of learning how to write.

Until now, my favorite inspirations are old Insular letters (Celtic, IVth to XIIIth centuries) and an English Bastard (used circa 1400 AD).

J’ai vu que nombre de vos oeuvres sont enrichies de calligraphies. Quelles sont vos sources ?

En fait, à chaque fois que je vois une vieille page remplie d’écriture quasi-illisible, j’y suis attirée. Cela me fait penser aux descriptions de vieux grimoires de mages, écrits en lettres magiques et arachnéennes… Alors, parfois je m’attelle à déchiffrer la page en question, et puis s’ensuivent de longues heures à pratiquer l’écriture des lettres, tout comme lorsque nous étions petits et qu’on essayait de former nos toutes premières lettres, quand on commençait l’apprentissage de l’écriture.
Jusqu’à présent, mes inspirations préférées sont de vieux alphabets Insulaires (Celtes, IVème au XIIIème siècle) et une Bâtarde Anglaise (d’usage vers 1400).

And what about the texts themselves?

Well, having grown up in India, I have developed an attraction to its mythology and scripture, which are often related.
I often use excerpts of the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita, or others such. And I also love quoting Rabindranath Tagore and Buddha. Simple, dedicated, and helpful…

I also am very Inspired by music, be it classical (I did a major piece of illumination based on W.A. Mozart’s Requiem) or traditional : some of the miniatures that I painted are based upon old ballads (The Trees they grow High, Lady d’Arbanville, Where have all the Flowers Gone?...) or beautiful, meaningful allegory-type songs (Mon Amie la Rose). You can find further details about these on my official website

I am also attracted to legends and mythology, some of which I am currently working on…

Et en ce qui concerne les textes eux-mêmes ?

Eh bien, ayant grandi en Inde, il est vrai que j’ai développé une forte attirance envers ses mythes et ses écritures, qui sont souvent reliés.

Je travaille souvent autour d’extraits des Puranas, de la Bhagavad Gita, ou d’autres tels. J’aime aussi beaucoup citer Rabindranath Tagore et Buddha. Simples, dévoués, et d’une grande aide…
Je suis aussi grandement inspirée par la musique, qu’elle soit classique (j’ai récemment achevé une enluminure de dimensions majeures sur le thème du Requiem de W.A. Mozart) ou traditionnelle : quelques-unes des miniatures que j’ai peintes sont basées sur de vieilles ballades (The Trees they grow High…, Lady d’Arbanville, Where have all the Flowers Gone?...) ou de délicates et touchantes chansons de type allégorique (Mon Amie la Rose). Vous pouvez trouver plus de détails concernant ce sujet sur mon site officiel
Je suis également attirée par les légendes et la mythologie, qui sont les thèmes de certaines des oeuvres sur lesquelles je travaille actuellement.

A Day Out In Cannes

A Day Out In Cannes

After making several trips into Cannes, one has gotten used to the crowds especially during the World Cup weekend in France. France will be playing South Korea tomorrow so one can understand everyone is trying to finish off their last minute shopping before they stay home to watch the match. The traffic today has been quite bearable; no snarl up at the Rue d'Antibes and even the motorbikers are smiling a bit more than usual.

I have been living on the Côte d'Azur for more than 4 years and have yet to be disappointed during this time of year in June. The weather has been "blue-proof" and the sun shines until 9 in the evening. The temperature guage is rising towards the "inevitable" 30° C. range in August; but NOT just yet! With a bit of sea-breeze in your hair and a pair of 'cool-shades' for your eyes; you are well set for a nice "promenade" along the Croisette.

One of the main things on my shopping list is to look for a couple of 'nice' paintings for the house in Roquefort. Now that I have finished moving the furniture about for the 3rd time in 4 years; I have finally managed to free up a little more white-wall space in the hall and in the lounge for something special. The other day some friends suggested that I should go to Cannes to check out the new Philippe STARCK showroom; but I'm feeling a bit too old for Monsieur STARCK. When I was working for a big fashion house in Hong Kong, I used to live off of his things; and I did enjoy myself many a night in 'Felix' at the top of the Peninsular Hotel admiring his designing prowess. After coming out of the shop/gallery in rue d'Antibes; guess what, yes I'm too old for him!

The crowds in the street seem to be dwindling a little now and I know why; it's lunch time. In France we respect the wonderful custom for food and wine, and many many other nice things in life......! Today, I feel like a nice Chinese meal. My friend Alexandre runs a fantastic restaurant in rue Macé; I wonder what he'll recommend to me today? For the past 4 years I have been searching high and low from Nice to Cannes and back again for a decent dish of 'Singapore noodles' and his is the only decent version that smells and tastes like those you find in Gerard Street in London, at Li Ho Fook & the New World nearby. Well, all right, I should not compare apples with oranges; but one thing encouraging is that the penchant for authentic Chinese food is developing rapidly in France and I will not be surprised to find more entrants into this already crowded 'la cuisine d'Asie' marketplace. Anyway, if you want Singapore Noodles right now, you should go to the following address:-

Le Jardin de Bambou
16 rue Macé
06400 CANNES

Tél: 04 92 98 63 06

The lunch was most satisfying and it was worth every penny of the 80€ bill, for 1 person. Well, I hear what you are thinking; but really I did NOT finish off everything; just the noodles!!! Perhaps, I need to walk up and down the Croisette to lose the few pounds that I've gained; but the sun is still too hot for that. Uh, I know just the place to go for some 'free-loading' of some air-conditioning; yes it's FNAC! It's just round the corner from Le Jardin de Bambou, I think I need to stock up on my weekly supplies of CDs and DVDs. I'm getting the new Shakira 'Oral Fixation 2'; does anyone know what '1' was like?

As I was walking back via rue Macé, I spied this gallery called 'J.P.Art'; and in his shop windows are the most amazing 'mastercopies' I have ever seen. Klimt, Modigliani, Lempicka, Vettriano, Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin; the names go on and on...... I promptly went in and started to peruse the walls. Well, I mean, what can you say, this tall handsome Frenchman named Jean Pierre; he has ALL the current 'good-tastes' sewn up! I asked him a few awkward questions like where did his copies come from etc.; but no, the guy is straight and honest, he doesn't do 'Asian' versions and his French authenticated copies are not all that expensive; a 100cm x 100cm Gauguin goes for less than 1.000€; including a nice gilt-frame. I have compared several galleries and I think I have a nice little treasure trove of goodies there. Yes, go to:

Galerie 10 rue Macé 06400 CANNES
Tél: 04 92 99 10 60

Next time, I shall let you know what I have bought from Jean Pierre. He's promised to come to my house to help me hang them up properly, wow, 'Quel service'!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Artlover in ANTIBES

Blog your b&w photographer Sigi W SCHULZ

After working 30 years as an architect in Paris, Sigi W. SCHULZ decided to realize his second profession to his first. Up to now his photographic topics are more combined with architectural aspects (Rome, Paris, New York and Berlin), but he did not want to stick with any rules as an so-called "photographer of architecture", and changed his mind more to human aspects. Finally the documentation and report of "the German doctors" gave him the best relevant possibility to follow the right way.

Sigi W. SCHULZ was born in 1949 in Ansbach/Bavaria. At the age of 7 he got his first "Adox 6x6". First photo laboratory experiences during the grammar school time followed. In 1977, after studying, he began to work as an architect in Paris. parallel to his national and international projects, he took photographs around Africa, Germany, Paris, Moscow and U.S.A.; first photo reports were created since 2000. Photography is now his first main activity.




2000 july - september: maison robert doisneau, gentilly/paris: "cercle photo de gentilly" (group show)
2001 march - april: centre culturel gentilly: "zig zag" (group show)
2001 may: bibliotheque pablo-neruda, malakoff/paris: "artistes pour la paix" / künstler für den frieden (group show)
2001 may: rathaus malakoff: "etendards pour san san nweeh", ausstellung und versteigerung für "reporter ohne grenzen" (group show)
2002 march - april: centre culturel gentilly/paris: "zig zag" (group show)
2002 may - june: bibliotheque pablo-neruda, malakoff/paris: "artistes pour la paix" / künstler für den frieden (group show)
2002 november: bibliotheque pablo-neruda, malakoff/paris: "rom"
2003 january - february: rathaus gentilly/paris "art'mosph`eres" (group show)
2003 april - may: salon d'art contemporain, montrouge/paris "saigon flou"
2003 may: bibliotheque pablo-neruda, malakoff/paris: "artistes pour la paix" / künstler für den frieden (group show)
2003 may: centre culturel gentilly/paris: "zig zag" and "paris metro"(group show)
2003 august: 'amandier, chatenay-malabry/paris "metro"
2003 october: salon d'art contemporain, paris, thiais "paris metro", 1. preis sektion foto (group show)
2004 march - may: stadt- und bergbaumuseum, freiberg-thüringen/germany: "das sehen von aussen" (group show)
2004 march-may: ärztekammer salzburg/austria: "german doctors" of calcutta
2004 october: syndicat d'initiative, choise-le-roy, paris: "structures, architectures, reportages"
2004 december: maison robert doisneau, gentilly/paris: "le regard de l'exterérieur" (group show)
2005 august - october: goethe institut mannheim-heidelberg/germany: "german doctors" of calcutta
2006 may - july: galerie "autour de l'art" antibes/france

Q. You have exhibited widely in Europe. Whch is your most popular subject, and why?

A. Although my former professional job was as an architect; most people know me through my 'geometric' composition in my photographs. I do not take photos of buildings anymore these days; but I find my lens still lead me to compose my photographs in a pseudo-architecural way. I like taking candid photos in the metro of Paris. I like this photo because of the 'tenderness' captured in the moment.


Q. Do you think that even when we are living in a modern integrated Europe; there are vast regional preferences in photography?

A. It's easy to dwell on the regional preferences like that you'll find in cuisine. However, generally speaking; each region presents its own story to tell the viewers. I just use my camera to present what I find during my travel and I let the photos speak their stories. However, I must confess that I do like to select my subject based upon my own preference first. This is the prerogative of the author.


Q. Who are your main influences in b & w photography?

A. I have many many photographers whom I regard as 'great'; people like Cartier-BRESSON & DOISNEAU etc; but I also like to create my own influence based upon my training as a professional architect. In fact, it's more of a choice I seek in technique than style in my photos. I hope my viewers will appreciate the symmetry found in my subjects being captured in a frame. I quite like an organised way of existence rather than playing by chance.


Q. Apart from showing your current work of the Paris "Metro" at "Autour-de-l'art" in Antibes, where else can we go to see your other work?

A. I travel around Europe a lot on different assignments. However, people could also reach me and my work at the following website:-



A garden of Eden
Son jardin d'éden


FCéline is a well-known artist residing in the South of France, specialising in abstract oil-painting. She began exhibiting her works since 1993 and has achieved much success in raising the awareness of her own special brand of 'modern feminity' expressed through oil-painting of fruits adorning the naked human body. She is currently exhibiting at the gallery Autour-de-l'art in Antibes of her latest works.

L’amour et la maturité de ses émotions ont permis à Fcéline artiste peintre de exprimer à travers ses peintures. Son dernier thème actuellement exposé à la galerie antiboise « Autour de l’Art » ; « Le Jardin d’Eden » nous transporte par les couleurs et la créativité.

Q: Your art is very expressive, does it bother you that it may be open to the wrong interpretation?

A: Well yes, it may be; if you allow your imagination cloud your own judgment. As an artist, I'm totally against control of any kind. I use my skill as an artist to express my view on life; and I welcome any kinds of interpretations which I have no control over. Such is the freedom that I value.


Q: Votre art est très expressif et subjectif, cela vous dérangerait-il s’il était mal interprété ?

R: Chacun est libre de voir dans mes œuvres ce qu’il ressent.


Q: You refer to your experience in your official website "" a lot about the following keywords; "fantasies and reality", "smile in Africa", "secret gardens of spirituality" and "intimacy & fragility". Can you explain these sentiments in your current works?

A: I hope your viewers do not take me too literally. After all; I'm talking about my artistic evolution during a period of 13 years and my views on life have evolved through the reception I received from my audience. I want to remain optimistic in a life that is both full and fulfilling. I smile easily!


Q: Pourquoi avoir choissi des fruits et des légumes comme support de votre nouvelle création ?

R: Au prémisse, J’ai travaillé sur la création de deux pommes. L’évidence est nées à mes yeux. C’est ainsi qu’est apparu « Le Jardin d’Eden », les corps se sont dessinés autour des fruits.


Q: Do you think it is important to paint your subject with an appropriate environment in mind; and if so, what domestic setting would you reccommend to your potential customers?

A: I choose my subject to paint according to my inspiration that I receive at the time. I do not pre-select any setting of environment in which my art is seen. However, the customer must be the final selector for the final use of my art; but working with a professional framer is a most beneficial step to take as a means to blend successfully my art into any homes.


Q: Les textes que l’on peut lire sur vos œuvres font parties intégrante de vos toiles. Qui les a écrit et quel rôle ont-ils ?

R: Ils sont nés de mes différentes lectures et de mes sensibilités littéraires. Hormis, biensûr, la définition du « Jardin d’Eden », mes textes symbolisent la finalité de ma création dans le sens où ils me permettent de m’encrer dans mes idées et choix artistiques.


What are the advantages of custom framing?

Why should I pay extra for a custom picture frame, when I can buy a ready-made frame at the local discount store?

This is a good question, for which the normal answer is that there are many times when a mass produced picture frame is appropriate. However, when you want to prepare your fine art or treasured heirlooms for display, custom framing is the best answer. A creatively finished custom frame will display artwork, mats, molding, and other elements to create a presentation that is unique, that complements your personality, and enhances your home or office. It is a personal creation that you will never find in a department, discount, or furniture store. Your beautiful fine art, needlework, special personal memorabilia, wedding photographs & invitations, or hard-earned certificates should be framed in a manner that does them justice, and prevents their deterioration over time. Your custom framed artwork is a permanent investment in the decoration of your home, which will outlast many of your other accessories. It is more personalized than most of your other furnishings. We at Autour de l'Art will recommend the best design techniques, and colour coordination to make the framing itself a work of art.

Why are matting combinations important?

There are many special design treatments that can be applied to your custom framing job. Some of these are: French mats, carved mats, embossed mats, inlayed mats, V-grooved mats, and etched glass. All of these techniques can result in a unique custom framing job, but their use must be selected carefully to ensure that they enhance, rather than detract from your artwork. Usually, one or two of these embellishments applied in concert, will really create a novel work of art.


From an aesthetics point of view, the mats provide several design qualities that enhance your artwork. One or more mats can provide depth, width and colour to your framed art. Two or more mats remove the flatness, giving your framed piece a three-dimensional look. This enhances any depth that the artist intended to create in the original work. Your artwork needs some space around it to prevent distractions from the surrounding wall treatment. Mats provide this space, allowing your art to be seen clearly. Matboards now come in hundreds of colors, textures and appearances. The choice of mat colors can be used to achieve several benefits. Carefully chosen mats can often enhance the artwork, while providing a transition to the room’s decor. Fabric mats can be used to add texture to your art. Mats covered in silk or smooth linen achieve elegance if your decoration is more formal. Some of our customers change their mats when they change their decor, to maintain the coordination of their artwork. A discussion of matting options would not be complete without mentioning quality options.

Today, there are three main options – there are paper mats and rag mats are available in a full range of colors. The third option are archival mats, which are a blend of rag and paper, but which have been treated to remove most of the acid, lignins and other impurities. These mats are suitable for matting all but the most valuable artwork, and they come in a huge variety of colors and textures.


Can I order special designs?

There are many special design treatments that can be applied to your custom framing job. Some of these are: French mats, carved mats, embossed mats, inlayed mats, V-grooved mats, and etched glass. All of these techniques can result in a unique custom framing job, but their use must be selected carefully to ensure that they enhance, rather than detract from your artwork. Usually, one or two of these embellishments applied in concert, will really create a novel work of art.

How do I select a frame?

The frame provides structural strength to enable you to cover your art with glass or acrylic and to hang it. But the colour, style and texture of the moulding add its own ingredient to the recipe of your custom-framed art. We have a huge variety of mouldings available(over 10,000), but your choice should coordinate with the art, the mats, and the particular effect you desire to achieve. For example, a bamboo-like moulding is great for oriental work, or a “Marie-Louise” inlay works well for European art. Mouldings made from natural woods and finishes are often used to coordinate with similar wood furnishings and to provide a “simple elegance” to the art. Mouldings can be used in combination to build a truly unique frame that will add additional width and color to your custom-framed art. A fillet, a narrow moulding inlaid inside the mat, coordinated with the frame moulding can be used to provide an inspired multi-dimensional look to your art. The possibilities are nearly endless, but we can help you choose the best combination for your very own presentation.The frame must be cut and assembled carefully to ensure tight corners and structural strength. Frames with bold, deeply embossed designs cannot always be cut so that the patterns match together at the corners. This is so because there is no industry-wide mathematical correlation between design spacing and even standard frame dimensions, much less the infinite sizes available in custom framing. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to fill the patterns at the corner seams and blend the colors so the mismatch is not noticeable

Artencadrement 006

Do you have suggestions for mounting 3-D objects?

Three dimensional objects present no problem to our experienced team. There is a way to encase everything from WWII military medals for your grandfather, sport jerseys, baby shoes, vacation souvenirs, or a china doll for your daughter. A shadow box can be very simple or it can incorporate rich fabrics and woods for a superbly elegant effect. Heirloom plates, spoon collections, coin collections, medals, and antique pistols are some examples of items that can be displayed in shadow boxes. Larger items, such as dolls, or an autographed football require display cases. Your design consultant can determine the best way to display and protect just about any object in a shadowbox


Do you do needlework/tapestry framing?

Needlework includes all needlework, embroidery, crossstich, and crewel, whether they be from kits or original designs. Tapestries include hand woven rugs, handmade quilts, and batiks. Since these articles represent a considerable investment of skill and time, it is very important that they be displayed and protected from damage. There are many ways to display these items, and each may require special treatment to bring out the best in the work and to ensure its preservation.

Do you provide mirror framing?

We can build a mirror frame to fit in perfectly with your decoration. A mirror can be cut and framed to fit any place, to within a quarter inch. Department stores or furniture stores may be limited to only certain sizes or styles of mirrors, whereas, we have a whole range of sizes from which you can select. We carry over 10,000 mouldings so you'll be sure to find the perfect combination

What is conservation glass and when do I need it?

First, let’s discuss the need. All sunlight and some artificial light contain an invisible electromagnetic component called ultraviolet (UV) light. These light waves are much shorter than visible light and contain more energy (the same energy that causes you to sunburn). This higher energy creates a greater degree of heat and causes more rapid deterioration of the molecular structure of the pigments used in printing. Conservation glass should be used whenever you are framing sentimental, valuable, limited edition and one-of-a-kind artwork. Conservation glass is clear glass (preferably float glass) to which an ultraviolet (UV) inhibiting film has been applied. Conservation glass blocks about 97 percent of the UV rays, compared to 46 to 50 percent blocked by regular clear and non-glare glass

What should I use to clean my picture framing glass?

Most commercial window cleaners are good for cleaning framing glass. Avoid all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, or any cleaner that contains pumice, waxes, or harsh detergents. If your frame contains conservation glass, you should avoid using anything with ammonia (note that some commercial glass cleaners do contain ammonia). Windows cleaners with vinegar or vinegar-D work great, and tests indicate that they are safe for any glass. There are several new types of glass coatings coming on the market which make require special care. We will provide specific instructions for these special cases. You should always spray the cleaner on the cloth, then wipe the glass. Otherwise, if you spray directly on the glass, the liquid is likely to run down between the frame and glass, and could eventually wick up the framing package to the artwork

Ten things to know before framing your picture:

  1. What and why to custom frame. - Whether you are framing a poster, your kid's handprints, or a fine work of art, custom framing will reflect your personal taste and protect your piece for years to come

  2. Consider the surroundings. - While you should certainly consider the room's decor, you shouldn't match the frame to the room at the expense of what looks good with the picture. Keep in mind that the room decor may change in the future

  3. Choose matting to enhance your artwork. - Matting is the term used to describe the "window-cut" material placed around an image within a frame. They can be made of a variety of materials such as paper, cotton and fabric in a wide range of colors. Mats serve as a spacer allowing the artwork to expand and contract with changes in humidity. Matting makes the overall size of the finished piece larger and provides a space for the eyes to rest between the art and the frame

  4. An ounce of prevention. - Many times cherished art is damaged prior to arriving at the frame shop because it is improperly stored or transported. If it's a rolled piece such as a poster, serious damage can be caused by rubber bands, tape, paperclips and even a gentle squeeze. Make sure that the artwork is placed in a folder, protective covering , or a tube. To prevent accidental damage, allow us to remove the artwork from its packaging

  5. It's all in the details. - Consider adding another detail. Fillets, beveled mat treatments, creative window openings, specialty paper or fabric mats can add a distinctive flair to your artwork. We are familiar with these options, and can help you decide what works best with your item. Sometimes it's the smallest element in framing your artwork that makes it stand out.

  6. Choose the best frame to enhance your art. - There are thousands of different frame styles and sizes that come in a variety of stains, glazes, and finishes. Let us help you select the frame that best suits your artwork and have it made to your exact specifications

  7. Archival materials protect your art. - Some common framing materials such as paper mats and cardboard contain acid that will gradually destroy your art, and these materials are not used by Get The Picture. Using archival mats and backing boards will help protect art from the damaging effects of time and from common pollutants that cause yellowing, fading and deterioration.

  8. Mounting your artwork properly. - The dry and wet mounting processes bond artwork to a board to prevent artwork from bubbling or waving and are most appropriate for posters and photographs. Pieces of any value are generally not dry or wet mounted since these processes are irreversible and can greatly affect any resale value. Museum mounting, commonly known as hinging, attaches the art with paper hinges to the board. The art hangs freely, allowing it to expand or contract with changes in humidity. Hinging or archival photo corners are recommended for original artwork, delicate photographic's, and other irreplaceable items.

  9. Choose glazing to protect your artwork. - Glazing refers to the glass or acrylic material covering the artwork as a means of protection. There are many variations including regular clear glass, anti-reflective (chemically coated), non-glare (acid etched) and conservation glass (specially formulated to help filter UV light). There are also acrylic glazing products that come in the non-glare and UV filtering varieties. Acrylic is lighter in weight and is safer than glass but requires a soft cloth and a non-abrasive cleanser. It is ideal for oversized pieces, frames hanging in children's rooms, or items to be shipped

  10. Find the right framer - A good framer will help you with all the decisions that go into properly framing your picture. Quality framers have years of experience with preservation framing and design using a variety of materials and methods. For outstanding customer service and the latest products, design theories, and techniques, you can rely on Autour de l'Art for excellent service

  1. Art Lover Says:
    Bonjour,Votre site est très intéressant, nous avons besoin de beaucoup de la discussion comme ça sur ligne.Comment vous pouvez faire les cadres sans passe-partout pour des photos?
On peut encadrer une photo sans passe-partout pourquoi pas, mais en tant que professionnelle je ne le conseille pas. L'encadrement est une mise en valeur mais surtout une technique de conservation. Un verre ne doit jamais être en contact direct avec l'oeuvre encore moins si il s'agit d'une photo, la gélatine risque de se coller sur le verre! Maintenant si il s'agit d'une simple reproduction papier( poster) aucun problème.