Tips for Preserving Your Artwork

From on July 10, 2008 in General Remodel

ArtworkArt is a driving force in our society. Our sense of artistic quality is evident in every aspect of our lives, from how we build or remodel our houses to how we organize our desks or decorate our walls. One look at a blank wall and we’re thinking of how we can fill it. And the most elegant way we know is through fine artwork. Yet pieces of art can be quite fragile, especially when stored or hung in the wrong environment. Here are just a few quick tips on how to preserve your art so that it will last and you can relish the beauty and emotion emitting from them.

Maintain Comfortable Humidity Levels

Most wall art, paintings, prints, etcetera, prefer to live just as we humans do: in a consistent, conditioned environment at or around room temperature. The biggest enemy of paintings is high fluctuations in humidity. The basic components of a piece of art (wood, canvas, paper) expand and contract just as your wood flooring or wood doors are wont to do. There are specific environmental guidelines for different materials, but generally artwork likes to live comfortably with humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent.

Keep Out Dust and Debris

One simple and important step you can take in preserving your art is to have a protective backing board attached to the painting. An archival cardboard backing, or a synthetic material such as Fome-Cor, will slow environmental change, keep out dust and debris, and protect against handling damage. It is important that the backing cover the entire back of the painting and have no vent or air holes.

For the avid art collector, or someone who has many pieces and wants to focus on long-term storage or frequent handling, contact your local art museum and ask for the Curator of Prints. You can get a firsthand look at how professionals care for their artwork. Ask how they preserve important works and pay close attention to space and temperature needs.