The following article concerning conservation of art objects is published on April 4, 2005 within Resources for Collectors, Life Long Learners and Students of Art History.


Through the Glass - Clearly.


Works of art are subject to a variety of disfiguring ills, many of them caused by environmental effects, particularly temperature and humidity changes and pollution. Much modern conservation effort is directed toward producing a stable, favorable situation for the display of art works and maintaining regular inspection and diagnostic procedures to combat deterioration.

Glazing, the protective covering used in picture framing, plays a major role in conserving artwork. Glazing is available as either glass or acrylic and serves several purposes:

1. Protect artwork against environmental elements and act as a barrier from outside elements like dirt, moisture and curious observers.
2. Protect artwork against the damaging effects of light
3. Enhance the viewing of a work of art.

Choosing the proper glazing treatment for artwork in a museum setting is critical. Tru Vue®, Inc. offers the following information when choosing the proper glazing of artwork:


Lighting Conditions

In a museum setting, lighting is closely controlled to filter out the majority of UV light and to control glare. When artwork is also framed with glazing that blocks UV rays, the greatest protection is obtained.


Weight, Safety and Durability

Acrylic glazing is recommended when artwork will be moved or shipped, or hung in a high-traffic area. Acrylic is half the weight of glass and won't shatter, so it's the better choice for large pieces and greatly reduces the chance that a piece of art will be damaged in the case of breakage.

A drawback of acrylic is the fact that is scratches easily, but it is now available with an abrasion resistant coating similar to that used on eyeglass lenses.


Handling and Cleaning

Glass can be cleaned with an ammonia-free cleaner and a soft cloth.

Acrylic should be cleaned with cleaners made for plastics and a soft cloth. Tru Vue acrylic products, specifically Optium and Optium Museum for example, should only be cleaned with an ammonia-free glass cleaner.

Don't clean glass or acrylic with paper towels. They will eventually cause scratches and a haze.

Never spray the cleaner directly on the framed artwork, as the cleaner could seep between the glass and the frame. Spray the cleaner on the cloth, and then clean the glass.


Color Distortion

When regular glass is used in framing, there tends to be a slightly greenish cast on the framed art. Low-iron glass eliminates the green cast and allows the artwork to be viewed in its true colors. Technological advances in acrylic glazing have made it just as clear as glass, without any yellow cast on the artwork.



Etched glazing (non-glare or reflection control) will reduce distracting reflections, but can also reduce sharpness if it is too far from the artwork. An anti-reflective coating, similar to that found on camera and eyeglass lenses, eliminates reflections under most viewing conditions. It is also very clear, so colors actually look more vibrant. These features are also available in acrylic.


Static Control

Acrylic glazing has been avoided when framing charcoals and pastels, due to the static charge held on acrylic. Static will literally pull the charcoal or pastel off the paper. An abrasion-resistant coating on acrylic products dramatically reduces their ability to hold a static charge.


About True-Vue

Tru Vue is a leading supplier of specialty picture framing glazing products. Tru Vue is located in McCook, Illinois, and Faribault, Minnesota, and is a division of Apogee Enterprises. For additional information on Tru Vue glazing products, visit
Information within this article was condensed by TFAO from text provided by by Jami R. Haney and David Lantrip, MCPF of Tru Vue.


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