Museum curators are used to caring for fine art. They recognize the threats to priceless, unique paintings which are decades or centuries old, and know the consequences of letting their guard down. What about regular consumers, though? What basic things should they learn about art storage? The Benson Ford Research Center has some simple suggestions for protecting personal art treasures.
Paintings do not like extreme cold or very hot. What a portrait or landscape will not like, for instance, is
to be placed in front of a window that creates a hot spot or being hung over an open vent shooting up hot air in the winter. There is a bit of flexibility, however. The kind of temperature which average home owners find comfortable is fine, give or take a few degrees.
The sun is damaging to everything if you do not take care. It fades carpets, furnishing fabrics, and the fruit on your still life, so:
- select a place to hang your painting which is not dark, but which is free from excessive light
- when you install artificial light, do not opt for UV lighting
- try soft, LED types of bulbs which are also cool enough not to overheat the paint from the grapes and limes in their fruit bowl
If you smoke or live in a high density area, keep pollutants away from art. You might have to keep windows closed near the painting, or open them when rush hour is over.
The best place to hang a painting is somewhere that will remain dry. If you could store rice and flour in this room, then you can probably hang your Picasso too. Humidity is tied closely to the presence of:
- rodents and insects
A clean, dry space is less likely to attract insects which could cause damage to the paper or frames around your prized relics of personal or cultural history.
Monitoring and Control
First of all, when you hang something out of sight, be sure to keep an eye on it. This does not mean conducting hourly checks. Just stick your head in the door once in a while to ensure that the environment feels and looks good. Go right up to the painting and inspect the frame. Maybe your art needs to be vacuumed or brushed, so be sure to look after that. Benson Ford says that dirt can cause mold to develop.
If you think you will forget to check on your art, set up a sensor. Have it rigged to detect extreme fluctuations in humidity and/or temperature. A consumer who elects to store paintings at a self storage facility should select one that will provide a climate controlled unit.
Author Bio: Hoag Svennson is an avid art collector and writer. When he is not searching for the next masterpiece, he writes about art conservation and restoration so that he can learn more about it himself.