Caring For Your Fine Art
Once you’ve begun your journey as an art collector and have acquired several pieces that you love, you may find yourself wondering the best way to care for your collection. Here are a few tips to help keep your art looking as new and beautiful as the day it originally caught your eye
Do Not Hang in Direct Sunlight
Consistent, direct light is irreversibly damaging to paintings, causing fading and/or darkening to the work. Hang your art in dimmer areas, away from direct sun light. In addition to the harmful rays of the sun, direct light from bulbs can also be destructive. To avoid harmful heat buildup from lighting sources, use the recommended level of 200 lux (60 watts) bulbs and avoid positioning lamps or spotlights too close to your paintings.
Be Mindful of Humidity Levels
Changes in humidity and temperature can cause warping due to expansion in the fabric of the canvas. Fabric absorbs moisture, which will cause your painting to expand on more humid days and contract on dryer ones. This can not only result in a sag to the canvas, but also loosen the attachment of the medium, causing cracking or chipping. To minimize the amount of change taking place in the canvas of your paintings, regulate the temperature in rooms where your art work is displayed. Ideally, in winter the temperature will be kept at 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity level of 40%-45%, and 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer with a relative humidity level of 45%-55%.
Temperature control also comes in to play when choosing a place to store your art. Basements and attics are typically not ideal locations for fine art storage because the humidity levels make it easy for mold growth and staining to infiltrate your paintings.
Unframed art can be stored rolled in acid-free opaque tubes with caps for both ends. Never store your art on the floor, but elevate it with simple shelving or a riser; anything that will keep the art from having contact with the ground.
Invest in Quality Framing
Quality framing is important to consider when it comes to retaining the value of your art. Good, professional framers know and understand the need to ensure the highest possible level of preservation and will use acid free mats, museum quality mounts, and UV glass for the best protection against light damage. Framing enhances the beauty of your piece, but it is also an investment in its continued value.
Be mindful and gentle when handling your art. Be careful of bumping the piece and shaking loose the medium, or wearing belts, jewelry or any other accessories that may catch on the painting and tear or scratch it while being handled. Always move a painting by holding the sides of the frame and never lifting from the top or by its hanging wire.