Fine Art Care
Don't let Summer's high humidity harm your art!!!
With today's rising energy costs; many of us are using our air conditioners a little less. High humidity may allow moisture to build up under the glass which can lead to mold. It can also loosen the archival hinges used to mount works on paper, especially floated pieces. It is cold in museums for a good reason - a cool temperature and medium humidity really is best for your art. If you are going on vacation and want to turn up that thermostat (and don't have a separate dehumidifier) consider moving your most valuable pieces into the coolest, driest room of your house. The basement might be just the place.
Caring for Fine Art
Like all collectables, proper handling of fine art is a must. Remember - improper framing or storage can damage your works of art.
Storing Unframed Art
If you are not planning on framing your art immediately:
- Store in a cool dry place.
- Store flat, if possible, between acid-free boards or in acid-free print jackets.
- Remove any tissue paper that does not have a waxy feel.
- Store between cardboard. Remove any brown kraft paper print may have been wrapped in. Both are highly acidic and can yellow art rapidly.
- Store in brown shipping tubes. If you have no alternative to this, wrap entire outside of piece with wax paper.
Proper Matting and Framing
Improper matting or framing will cause damage to your art over time. Acids contained in certain framing materials can cause paper to turn brown, become brittle and eventually deteriorate. For more info check out our page on framing here.
- Use only acid-free or rag matting, mounting and backing boards.
- Make certain your framer understands preservation framing. Originals on paper may require more extensive conservation framing than limited edition prints based on potential value.
- Discuss glazing (glass) options with your framer. Museum or UV protective glass may be required.
- Allow a fine work of art to be permanently secured or mounted. Art needs to breathe.
- Let glass come directly in contact with the surface of a piece of art. Use matting or 'spacers' to keep the glass up. This allows air space and avoids possible condensation.
- Cut the paper or alter the original condition of artwork. Doing so may impact future value.
Caring for Framed Art
Even properly framed art is susceptible to environmental conditions. Protect your investment by taking the following precautions:
- Allow airspace between the frame and the wall. Make sure your framer puts bumpers on the bottom of the frame.
- Keep art away from all sources of heat including radiators. We don't recommend hanging fine art over fireplaces or on walls which contain flues.
- Hang art in direct sunlight. The sun's ultraviolet rays and fluorescent lighting are harmful to inks, paints and paper. Even indirect sunlight can damage your art after years of exposure. For very valuable works, UV filtered glass or UV Plexiglas is recommended.
- Hang valuable art where it is subjected to extremes in temperature and humidity.
- Spray glass cleaner directly onto framed art. Spray onto a soft cloth and gently wipe. Paper towels and ammonia based cleaners are not recommended.
Properly framed, your fine art will give you pleasure and value for a lifetime.