Mastering the Art of Framing

As a gallery owner, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of framing on artwork. Over the years, I’ve gleaned a wealth of knowledge about the impact of framing on both the presentation and sale of art. I’d like to share some thoughts on framing that can serve as the beginning of an ongoing conversation around framing and presentation.

Investing in Quality Framing

Quality framing is more than just an aesthetic choice; it’s an investment in your art’s future. A well-chosen frame enhances not only the artwork’s appearance but also its perceived value. It’s about finding that sweet spot where the frame complements without overpowering the piece. Remember, the frame is the suit or dress your artwork wears to its own premiere.

Balancing Budget and Aesthetics

Navigating budget constraints while maintaining an appealing aesthetic can be challenging. However, it’s essential to strike a balance that doesn’t compromise the artwork’s integrity. An artist must be judicious in choosing frames that augment the art without causing financial strain.

Gallery Wraps: A Contemporary Alternative

Gallery-wrapped artwork by John Horejs (my father!) showing that even more traditional subject matter can work with a gallery-wrap.

For those working within tighter budgets, gallery wraps offer a modern, cost-effective alternative to traditional frames. This option works wonderfully for certain art styles, providing a sleek and contemporary look that resonates with many collectors.

Consistency is Key

Adopting a consistent framing style has multiple benefits. It not only simplifies the framing process but also establishes a cohesive and professional appearance for your body of work. Consistency in framing can become part of your signature as an artist.

Artwork by Helen Rietz – a great illustration of the power of consistent framing

Smart Frame Management

Efficient frame management involves strategic repurposing. Having a stock of frames to rotate between artworks can be a game-changer. This approach not only reduces costs but also allows for flexibility in presentation and storage.

Frame Cost-Value Alignment

From a gallery owner’s perspective, I recommend that the cost of framing should ideally be around 10-15% of the retail value of the artwork. If this cost-value ratio is skewed, it’s worth considering either finding more cost-effective framing solutions or elevating the value of your art. This might involve targeting higher-end galleries or shows that can support the value your art deserves.

Just-In-Time Framing

The just-in-time framing strategy is about being prepared but not over-committed. Having a few samples of your work, framed and ready for display, allows potential buyers to visualize the finished product. Additional pieces can be framed as needed, reducing upfront costs and storage challenges.

Framing: The Final Touch in Art’s Journey

Framing is an integral part of the art presentation and sales process. It requires careful consideration, strategic planning, and a keen eye for aesthetics. By effectively managing framing choices, artists can significantly enhance the appeal and marketability of their work, creating lasting impressions in the minds of collectors and gallery visitors alike.

What aspects do you find most crucial in the framing process? How do you navigate the investment involved in framing, ensuring it enhances the value of your artwork without breaking the bank? And what are your go-to tactics for keeping costs under control while still achieving that perfect presentation? Your insights and stories are not just valuable to me but to our entire artistic community. Share your thoughts and let’s continue this enlightening conversation about the art and science of framing.

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. As a new gallery owner I see paintings in all kinds of “finished formats”. A great piece of art can be seriously diminished by at cheap frame— besides it is a sizable investment for the artist to frame their work and I’d hate to not sell a piece bc the purchaser didn’t like the frame that was chosen. Is it possible to request certain finish requirements b4 accepting artwork? If so, what is the accepted gallery standard? Also— any ideas to offer customers when they love the art but hate the frame?

  2. My gripe about framing for work shown where the gallery or show takes a percentage is that this can make a piece too costly for the lower end market. If the cost of a frame is $200 – not unreasonable if it includes mat board and glass – the artist must charge about $400 just to break even. Thus a framed painting that sells for $800 yields the artist only $200

  3. I do not understand the idea of rotating different art between frames. When I frame a piece, it is securely set into the frame and then taped around the back of the frame.. It is ready to walk out the door. It is a big job to switch a painting without damaging the foam core back piece. Also very time consuming. Do the artists that rotate frames not completely finish the back until it is sold? The buyer would have to return later when the back is taped?

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