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Caring For Your Artwork
Posted by Kenny on 10/11/2007 4:26:59 PM (ET)
Filed Under: Décor & Home Improvement
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Now that you have bought your art, you want to enjoy it. But how do you protect your investment and guarantee its preservation? We would like you to enjoy your art for years to come. In a museum setting, the environment is controlled to levels of temperature and relative humidity that are optimum for the long-term preservation of the works of art, while at the same time allowing for human comfort. In a private home where it may be impossible to duplicate museum conditions, environmental stability can be more closely approached by careful selection of the locations used for the display and storage of works of art.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help conserve your fine artwork and maintain the integrity of its original state.

  • Paintings are fragile creations that require special care to ensuretheir continued preservation.
  • Keep your art away from direct sunlight, as anything that will fade your carpet will fade your art. Be careful not to let direct sunlight shine on your art.
  • Hang your art in neutral climates, away from excessive humidity or dryness. Too much moisture can cause mats and prints to buckle or mold over time. Extreme dryness can also unfavorably affect the artwork. Automatic portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers can contribute greatly to the stabilization of the relative humidity in a room when appropriately sized for the space.
  • Framing your artwork adds to the life of your art. Be sure to ask for quality conservation materials when framing your art, such as cotton-rag matboard and acid-free backings. This combination results in the best long-term protection of your art.
  • Keep an eye out for pollutants and contaminants in the environment. Art is just as susceptible to environmental damage as we are.
  • Check your framed artwork about every 6 months, front and back, for signs of damage such as cracking and molding. There are paper conservators who may be able to repair any damage that has been done and help you with preventative maintenance for the future.
  • Do not spray cleaner of any kind directly onto the framed piece. Rather, spray cleaner onto a cloth and then apply it to the glass or Plexiglas.
  • Never try to clean a painting yourself or use any liquid or commercial cleaners on a painted surface. Commercial preparations can cause irreparable damage to the fragile layers of a painting.Avoid touching the surface of paintings with your fingers. The natural oils in your skin can also cause damage or leave marks that may appear later.Avoid using pesticides, foggers, air fresheners, or furniture sprays near artworks. Remove paintings from a room before plastering, painting, or steam-cleaning carpets or wallpaper. Return the artworks only when the walls and floors are completely dry.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are unsuitably warm and damp for hanging valuable works of art.
  • If you must store a painting, avoid basements, garages, and attics. A good storage method is to place the paintings in a closet with a stiff board (cardboard or
    Fome-Cor) protecting the image side of each artwork and a backing board attached to the reverse.
  • If you are a renter, you may want to consider purchasing Renter’s Insurance. Landlords have insurance for the apartment building itself, but this does not cover your personal belongings within the building. Renter’s Insurance would cover the value of your artwork should anything happen to it.
  • If you are a homeowner, be assured that your artwork is included in your Homeowner’s Insurance. Always specifically insure artwork against theft and accidental damage. A small investment now could be invaluable in the future.
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