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By Eden Gallery,
Posted Nov 22, 2021 ,
In Art Blog
The beauty of an artwork is its timelessness. It’s not a temporary piece of work; rather, it spans across generations. Whether you purchased it to add sophistication to your space or as an investment, a beautiful artwork requires attention and care. The challenge lies in preserving its pristine condition, even as time wears on.
The value of an art piece is largely reliant on how well it is conserved, so proper care is crucial.
Artwork protection may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. While it requires a diligent system and proper upkeep, it’s not rocket science. All you need are a few tips and techniques straight from the experts so you can treat your artwork with care.
If you find yourself confused with the plethora of information out there, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to know how to protect your artwork from damage. But first, let’s talk about what artwork protection means and its importance in the world of fine arts.
Artwork protection entails handling, cleaning, and storing an art piece in a way that keeps its original state and extends its lifespan. It would be a tragedy to enjoy an artwork for a while, only to witness its fading glory because of neglect or avoidable mistakes.
Apart from the fact that most works of art are extremely expensive, they are also a representation of our culture and heritage and are therefore worth preserving. Whether it is classic or contemporary, artwork protection is a way of honoring our heritage and creating a legacy for the future. It is about passing on not only a tangible creative piece but also a wealth of skills, intelligence, and creativity from one generation to the next.
A work of art can be damaged because of scratches, paint loss, or warping, all of which can diminish the integrity and value of the piece. However, the joy of possessing an artwork doesn’t have to come with the burden of worrying whether you will be able to maintain its condition over time.
Having a cultural expression in your hands is a source of pleasure and pride and can transport you to another world and time. It took ingenuity and imagination to create it and so it deserves to be honored and appreciated through proper treatment.
Proper care begins with placing your works of art in a safe spot away from harsh elements like direct sunlight and humidity and ensuring that your hands are clean when you handle them.
Pro tip: Artworks are to be dusted. They should not be cleaned with cleansers, solvents, or damp cloth, since these could cause damage. Whether it is a painting or a sculpture, gentle dusting with a soft feather duster is the proper way to remove dirt.
Whether it is just one piece or a collection, you need to learn how to keep your artwork free from damage so it looks as good as new for generations to come.
More about how to clean paintings, here >>
First, always watch your hands. Do not touch artworks without cotton gloves lest you leave behind fingerprints and traces of natural skin oils. In the case of paintings, wrong handling could affect the texture of the canvas and the quality of paint on it.
As mentioned earlier, do not use cleansers to remove dirt from the painting. If it is protected by an acrylic or glass panel, use a microfiber cloth and ammonia-free glass cleaner solution.
Any artwork that is not hung, should not be rolled. Rolling it up and storing it in a tube for extended periods might cause it to crack or stain. To store your artwork, lay it flat and wrap it with a slightly larger conservation matboard or multi-layer rag to avoid creasing, waving, or acidic damage. You may also store it in Solander boxes or clamshell cases. These are acid-free book-shaped cases with a hinged lid that you can purchase from conservation supply stores.
Humidity, heat, and light also cause irreparable damage so ensure you display or store your artwork in a cool, dry, dark place.
High temperature and humidity can cause irreversible degradation to paintings, especially oil and watercolor artworks, affecting both color and texture. The UV rays of the sun can break down pigment molecules and make your painting go from vivid to dull over time. If you don’t want your precious painting looking like a grainy, low-resolution image, it’s best to keep it away from a sunny spot.
If your home lets in light and air and there’s no spot where the sun doesn’t hit, you can frame your artwork with acrylic plexiglass with a UV filter instead of glass. This provides a layer of protection and to a certain extent keeps the damaging effects of unfiltered light at bay.
Also, monitor and keep your humidity level at 55%. You can keep this in check with a hygrometer and dehumidifier.
As explained earlier, sunlight isn’t a friend of your artwork collection. The rays can cause the color molecules to break down leading to photo-oxidation. Besides using UV-blocking glass or acrylic plexiglass on your paintings, you could put UV-filter films on your windows.
This way, you protect not only your paintings but also your skin and other delicate pieces in your home from UV rays. Another option to protect an artwork’s surface from discoloration, dirt and damage is by giving it a gentle coat of varnish. Simple but smart tricks like these can help protect artwork from becoming a shadow of its former glory.
A work of art is best experienced in all its brightness. This way, every person looking at it can feel all the emotions the artwork aims to evoke. It doesn’t need light as it shines on its own.
Art protection is a learned skill. It only requires a commitment to care. If you value your artwork, possession should naturally come with protection. A true art lover knows how to care for artwork not only for his/her pleasure but for the next generations to experience and appreciate its beauty.
Follow these tips to give your artwork collection the care and preservation it truly deserves. After all, we are only custodians of art pieces, for they are meant to last much beyond our lifetime.
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