You should look for a framing establishment where the work is done on the premises, where the primary interest is in the preservation of art. There are many experienced, reliable framers in the Washington Area. The following represent a cross section to indicate details and prices. All prices are subject to change.
Michelson's Inc., 709 G St., NW, has been at the same location for nigh on to 60 years. No art work ever leaves this large framing establishment without being inspected by Sidney Mickelson or his brother, Maurice, William Parker is the talented superintendent of the tidy, dry (important -- no moisture in the materials) upstairs workshop. oHe and his crew have every kind of board for mats and backings and glass (including Denglas) at their disposal. An enormous variety of moldings is available. Dry mounting can be done, but only on copies, not originals. Some samples of prices: a certificate, legal document or reproduction, size up to 16-by-20 inches, can be dry mounted on 1 inch Fome-Cor for $16.80. With Grade B picture glass, 4-ply rag mat, a backing of 4-ply rag, chipboard, and dust proof paper, a molding at $4 per foot, 16-by-20-inch costs about $40.
The Framework, 313 7th St., SE, is a small neighborhood shop, but Martha Gould and her assistant Sue Lloyd, who do the work themselves on the premises, can and do handle any kind of project. They are dedicated to framing as a craft and, while preferring to use museum quality materials, they will take care of nearly any problem brought to them. Needlework can be blocked and framed, for example. Sample prices: A poster, 24-by-36-inch, dry mounted and bracked with a wooden support on the back costs $19. The same size poster, dry mounted and with regular picture glass and a gold metal frame costs $53.50. A 20-by-24-inch work of art framed with a 4-ply rag mat, 4-ply rag backing, regular glass and a molding at $3.50 per foot costs $55.50.
Thomas More Associates, 1790 Lanier Place, NW, does a great deal of work for museums, galleries, private collectors and artists. More uses only rag board for mats; it can be covered with linen or silk fabric. For backings only rag is used, which is then backed with Fome-Cor -- he like the latter because it's less acidic and doesn't retain moisture. All grades of glass are available including Denglas. He believes framing should be "neutral and directed toward the picture"; it should be "beautifully done but secondary to the picture." He likes to use only natural wood moldings. He will paint them but only "under duress." He will also supply welded (continuous as opposed to sectional) metal frames, popular with artists because they are readily reusable. Thomas More Associates is also well-known to conservators and artists in this area because it is the only firm which makes expansion bolt stretchers -- so much more satisfactory than the usual keyed stretchers. Some prices: Sizes 25-by-30-inch with 4-ply rag mat and backing, further backed with Fome-Cor, using Grade B picture glass, a metal sectional frame (cheaper than welded) costs about $49. The same size and using all the same materials but with a wooden molding costs about $66.
William Adair and his wife, Suzanne, have recently opened a framing business called Specialty Frames, 715 G. St., NW, Tel. 638-4660. Adair is already well known in Washington as a goldleaf conservator. He is a conservator at The National Portrait Gallery. He also heads a talented crew at the G Street address who do goldleaf conservation for the White House and the Freer Gallery of Art, among other customers. Adair has just finished writing a book called "The Art of Goldleaf Restoration" to be published in the fall, and is working on another about frame styles. It will deal with and document historical American frames. Adair is also an artist and a teacher. They will handcraft frames to suit the style and period of the painting -- goldleaf marbled or stencilled. And of course the frame will be expensive, but it will be close to perfect.