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Enhance the effect of images with anti-reflective glass

The right choice of glass for the perfect framing of exhibits is the be-all and end-all

Kirchen, August 19, 2019 - Every photographer wants at some point, to present their best photos to the public. A coherent frame and the right glass make every work of art a real eye-catcher. But not all glass is the same - there are a variety of different types of glass, which have a great impact on the effect of the fine art print. Photographers, art collectors and gallery owners increasingly prefer anti-reflective glass in order to achieve a reflection-free and unadulterated view of the original - just like without glass, but without foregoing the protective effect of glass. Anti-reflective glass - often referred to as museum glass - is being used more and more frequently both when framing and when replacing the glass in existing frames, reports David Halbe, managing director of HALBE-Rahmen GmbH(


Since the 1980s, photographic art has had a firm place in the art scene

Digital photos and analogue prints enrich more and more private collections and public exhibitions. The crowning glory of any photo project is the exhibition of the best motifs. Almost any room can serve as an exhibition space, but without differentiated, even lighting and the choice of the right picture glass, even the best photographic artworks cannot develop their full effect. The presentation of the pictures must be well considered in relation to the spatial conditions.


Glass offers photographs a wide range of protection

Photographers who have chosen a FineArt paper with a textured or high-gloss surface often prefer to present their images without glass. However, this decision entails many risks, as scratches or other damage can often destroy photographs during transport, hanging and finally during exhibition. Framing behind glass protects the picture from soiling, mechanical damage and, above all, from climatic and light damage. It is not without reason that galleries present valuable photographs framed behind glass.


Not all glass is the same

Glass has a great influence on the effect of a picture and should guarantee an undistorted view of the work of art. There are a variety of different picture glasses on the market with different properties that need to be weighed when framing an exhibit. First and foremost, a distinction is made between acrylic and mineral glass when choosing glazing.


Acrylic glass - the ideal glazing for touring exhibitions

Acrylic glass, often called PLEXIGLAS®, has the advantage over mineral glass of being unbreakable and considerably lighter. It is softer than mineral glass and therefore more sensitive to scratches. Acrylic glass should therefore only be cleaned with an antistatic cleaning agent for plastics. Another disadvantage of acrylic glass is its relatively high degree of reflection. It is primarily used for touring exhibitions, where weight-related transport savings and breakage resistance play an important role.


Normal and white glass - the view makes the difference

Mineral glass has the advantage over plastic glass that it is easier to clean because it has a much harder, less sensitive surface. A fundamental disadvantage is the higher weight and the easy fragility. Exhibits framed with mineral glass therefore require care during transport.

Mineral glass is again divided into normal and white glass. Due to its slightly higher iron content, normal glass has a slight greenish tint compared to white glass, which shows off art objects to their best advantage thanks to its excellent colour rendering and incomparable transparency.


Professional presentation without annoying reflections

It is the surface that gives the glass its specific properties relevant to framing. Glossy glass is the low-priced standard among picture glasses. It has perfect contour sharpness and is rich in contrast. On the other hand, the spatial environment is reflected in the smooth glossy glass pane when the picture is viewed, which can considerably interfere with the enjoyment of the picture. Only anti-reflective glass reduces reflections and allows pictures to unfold their full radiance.


Two variants of "anti-reflective" glass

The simple variant is glass frosted on one side, in which the glass surface is roughened by means of an etching process. The light is refracted by the uneven glass surface, thus reducing the reflection to about eight percent. The disadvantage is that the luminosity of the colours and deliberately chosen glossy effects of special FineArt papers, such as metallic paper, are lost. The use of a passe-partout increases the effect. "We therefore recommend using a maximum of 1.5 mm thick passepartout for glass matted on one side," says David Halbe, Managing Director of HALBE-Rahmen GmbH.


Museum glass - the Rolls Royce of anti-reflective coating

One speaks of genuinely anti-reflective glass with interference-optically anti-reflective glass, which is colloquially also called museum glass. An invisible coating of metal oxides prevents reflections through the physical effect of destructive interference of light waves - similar to that of eyeglass lenses. The glass surface remains smooth, but the reflection can be reduced to less than one percent by the special coating. Depending on the product, there is a slightly greenish or bluish to violet residual reflection, which is part of the character of anti-reflective glass and is perceived as pleasant by the viewer. However, the glass is completely transparent and the image is reproduced faithfully.


Many decision criteria to consider when choosing glass

"There is no perfect glass, as each has its specific advantages and disadvantages. The trick is to select the ideal glass for the application in question," emphasizes David Halbe. In addition to the issues of reflection, image reproduction, UV protection, weight, break resistance, cleaning as well as format are essential decision criteria. For large-format works over 120 x 140 cm, acrylic glass is the right choice due to its lighter weight and break resistance.


Anti-reflective glass - the choice of art connoisseurs

In order to achieve a reflection-free and undistorted view of the original, as without glass, photographers, art collectors and galleries prefer to use anti-reflective or interference-optical anti-reflective glass. Often variants with increased UV protection are used. The image impression of these special glasses is amazing. HALBE -frames offers all lovers of photographic art not only the choice of these excellent glass qualities when ordering new frames, but also when exchanging or replacing the glass in existing frames. HALBE uses only high-quality anti-reflective glass from the manufacturers SCHOTT AG and Tru Vue Inc. in the mineral version MIROGARD® and as acrylic glass Optium Museum Acrylic®.


 half-frame glass comparison

Not all glass is the same - as this framing shows. There are many different types of glass, which have a great influence on the effect of the FineArt print.



Anti-reflective glass, compared to non-anti-reflective glass, ensures not only a reflection-free but also an undistorted view of the original - just like without glass. 



At some point, every photographer wants to present his best photos to the public. A harmonious frame and anti-reflective glass make every work of art a real eye-catcher.



When choosing the ideal glass, the degree of reflection plays an essential role. Art connoisseurs prefer more and more anti-reflective glass.



Due to its slightly higher iron content, normal glass has a slight green tint compared to white glass, which shows off art objects to their best advantage thanks to its excellent colour rendering and incomparable transparency.



In addition to protection against soiling and damage, issues such as reflection, weight, break resistance and cleaning play an important role in the selection of the ideal glass.



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