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We have a watercolour that was mounted to a piece of mat board by the artist (over 40 years ago) which needs its framing renewed. After pulling the backing off, I find the mat board is badly warped (part of the reason it needs renewal it turns out.) The mat in front (separating the work from the glass) seems to follow the backer.

Should I try to flatten the mounts or just make sure all is secure in the frame? (Or take it to a pro?)

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So, first, I would probably take it to a professional restoration if there was no way I was willing to risk the painting. Likely to be expensive, though, but the safest approach.

If you want to try to flatten the support, you could try slowly wetting the back of matboard with sponged water, don't soak it, wet it, and then flatten under heavy pressure (carefully, you don't want to damage the painting) for a couple of days. This may bring the matboard back into shape, but it's a bit of a long shot really.

I have to be honest, though, if the work was one that I wanted to preserve, I'd be looking to a pro to do it.

  • Thank you, John. We took it to a shop with experience. They did a very nice job with it and I suspect it will outlast us now! – Donald Locker Mar 30 '17 at 11:04

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