OUR FRAMING PRACTICES: The Condition Report
At Bark, the process of designing a frame starts with focusing on the work of art. We look at the artwork and consider how it might be best presented; we take careful note of its physical condition, and while doing so we fill out a condition report. We do this so we have a reference point, both for our staff who will install the work in its frame, and as documentation for the owner.
Occasionally, after we have framed a work, we have been asked to inform a client of any condition issues that may be unobservable unless the work is removed from the frame—in the margin of a matted work or on the back of the work, for example. Since our condition reports are stored in our database along with the framing details, it’s easy to look up a work from years past.
In examining the work, our designers first make note of any wear and tear on the outside packaging—damage that may have been incurred during shipping. Then, after the artwork is carefully unwrapped, the condition of the work is entered on the condition report: we note the presence of mold or foxing; tears, dents or creases; and past framing or environmental damage which might include “mat burn” from an acidic window mat or discoloration and fading from sunlight (such as in the image below).
A rough drawing of the work is mapped out on the report as well, and the physical location of each problem area is indicated. Labels, writing, or signatures on any part of the work are also noted in the report.
We have been writing condition reports on the artworks in our care for more than 25 years. We were first introduced to the practice of “conditioning” work when it arrived in our facility by observing that conservators always followed the practice. We felt it would provide a valuable record and assurance to our clients, and this has proven to be true.
by Jed Bark, Bark Frameworks.