Care For Your Art with Museum Curating Methods

care for your art

Make sure that your new art is comfortable in your home by learning how to properly care for your art!

Congratulations, you’ve just purchased your first work of fine art! Now the question is: do you know how to care for your art? There is a level of responsibility that comes with the ownership of a delicate work of fine art. If you simply hang your new painting on any old wall, you may notice that the colors begin to fade or the painting suffers minor scratches or other wear. Make sure you protect your investment with these methods that are used by professional museum curators.

Moving Your Art

If you are transporting your new artwork to your home, or you are moving to a new home, take extra care when relocating the art. Wrap towels or a soft cloth around the frame to protect it from scratches. If you’re moving more than one painting, take the time to make sure that the wire hinge on the back of one painting is not against the exposed canvas of another. Be careful not to stack paintings on top of each other! Instead, place paintings upright, making sure that the wires on the back of one painting never touch the canvas of another. This keeps them from getting bumps and scratches from each other along the ride. You can secure the paintings with a seat belt or rope to make sure they don’t topple while the vehicle is in motion. Now you’re all set to get on the road!

Handling Your Art

Before you handle your art, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of white gloves. Museum curators use white gloves when handling artwork to make sure the art is not affected by dirt, fingerprints, or stains. This inexpensive purchase can save you from the tragic moment of realizing there’s a stain on your beautiful canvas. Whenever carrying a painting, grasp it firmly on both sides with two hands. Make sure that you don’t ever lift the painting with one hand! This can cause the frame of the painting to weaken over time and subtly separate. Lift gently and carefully carry to the wall where you plan on displaying it, and be extra aware of any jutting furniture or other obstacles on the way.

Displaying Your Art

care for your art

“Homme debout avec masque devant femme assise” is a dry etching by Picasso. It requires to be displayed out of the way of direct sunlight to reduce fading.

If you’re hanging or storing paintings for a long period of time, you have to make sure that all of the conditions are just right. If you are storing your paintings, make sure that they are stored in their upright position.

Art is very sensitive to temperature, humidity, and light. These are things that you, as a novice art collector, should keep in mind when storing or displaying your art. Here are a few tips for controlling the environment around your art:

  • Temperature: Make sure that the work is not close to an open window or air vent so that it is not exposed to changing temperatures.
  • Humidity: Do you have guest rooms in your home that you don’t bother to keep cooled in the summer when they’re not being used? Don’t keep fine art in a room without air conditioning! The heat and humidity can damage a delicate work of art. Consider your art as a guest in your home and make sure it’s comfortable!
  • Light: Keep an eye on how sunlight hits the work. Different mediums can withstand different amounts of direct sunlight. If you have an oil or acrylic painting, it can withstand lots of direct sunlight as long as there are not exposed portions of canvas. If there are portions of the canvas that are not covered by the paints, then it may fade with exposure to sunlight. Watercolors, works on paper, and photography all experience fading from exposure to sunlight. Even indirect sunlight can damage these types of art works. Although you may love how your beautiful watercolor painting looks while it’s brightened by the natural light coming through the window, it’s best to find a room without lots of sunlight to display this painting.

Now you know how to best preserve your beautiful fine art collection so that you and your family can still enjoy its beauty years from now!  For more information about fine art or to inquire about a work on this site or elsewhere contact Patty Barnett.

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