Art Preservation Tips

Although art restoration should only be attempted by a professionally trained artisan, a fine art collector can maintain their collection and extend the life of their art by understanding the best techniques of art preservation.

1. Upon purchase, the collector should ask the seller if there are any special requirements for storage or maintenance of the piece. Then, follow those instructions!

2. Decide the best place to display your art. Understand the environment of your surroundings and act accordingly. Place your piece of artwork in a place that will cause minimal to no damage over time. For example, placing a painting or other artwork on a mantle above the fireplace, while quaint, can cause discoloration, damage and excessive dirt collection if the fireplace is functional. If you display your art in direct sunlight, you will run the risk of the pigments fading. If the art is displayed in the kitchen, not only will the heat damage the piece, but airborne oils from cooking will cling to the piece and make cleaning very difficult.

3. When moving your artwork, know the safest way the piece travels. Make sure you have clearance when moving the piece from one place to another and be wary of any drastic change in environment. Changes in environment themselves can cause damage. Weather that is too dry or too cold is not weather for transferring artwork from one place to another.

4. Storage of artwork should be carefully considered. Absolutely avoid storing your artwork in a basement or attic. Environments in those two areas are typically extreme in one way or another and can severely and irreversibly damage your art. Artwork such as painting, prints or inks should not be rolled and stored in tubes. Rather, this type of art should be kept flat and unwrinkled. One of the best ways to practice good art preservation in storage is to encapsulate the work in polyester film and then seal the film. This protects the work from most minor environmental changes. One can also place the art on a mat board and then cover it with polyester film. Other storage options are acid-free boxes or boards.

5. The best storage place for framed art is upright in a cabinet. Unframed art is best kept in a shallow drawer.

6. If your artwork is damaged in some way, there will be a desire to try to ‘fix’ the damage before seeking help. Try to refrain from doing this as much as possible and instead call a professional restorer who is well-versed in artwork preservation. One simple thing a collector can do is to wipe gold leaf only with dry cloths. Wet cloths may peel the gold leaf off of the artwork. In addition, if your artwork is turning brown, a professional in art preservation may be necessary in order to deacidify the work. Very importantly, never use solvents to clean varnish or attempt to remove and replace it. Solvents may irreversibly damage your artwork or cause expensive damage that will be difficult to fix.

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Dbro 4 years ago from Texas, USA

Great hub, Better Yourself! As an artist myself, I understand the time, care, and dedication that goes in to creating a work of art. Each piece represents hours of work. Therefore, it's extremely important that the pieces collectors love be preserved. These tips and advice will help achieve that end. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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