10 Expert Tips For How to Protect Your Artwork From Damage

Chris DeRubeis and art publisher David Smith hanging metal art by DeRubeis.

So you’ve found the perfect work of art. Now, how do you protect it?

Learning how to protect your artwork from damage is an essential part of building an art collection. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy precautions you can take to make sure that your art will look pristine for generations to come.

These 10 tips come directly from Luis Navarro, the Plant Manager for Park West Florida. Our Miami fulfillment center frames more than 300,000 works of fine art every year, so there’s no one with more experience when it comes to handling art safely.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ARTWORK, IF IT’S FRAMED:

Experts constructing frames at Park West Gallery’s Miami Lakes fulfillment center

1. Avoid or limit direct sunlight.

Exposure to intense sunlight can drain the color from almost anything, including your new favorite work of art. Avoid hanging your artwork anywhere where it will receive regular doses of direct sunlight.

2. Know when to frame with acrylic plexiglass, not glass.

What if you specifically wanted to hang that perfect picture in your sunroom? If you don’t want the sun dictating your design choices, just make sure that your picture is framed with a UV filtering acrylic rather than glass. It’s actually lighter than glass and will protect your art from fading or yellowing in direct sunlight.

Those are just a few of the reasons why all Park West Gallery art that requires glass framing is framed with a special UV acrylic plexiglass.

3. Pay attention to humidity.

The amount of water in the air can have a huge impact on the overall health of your art. Make sure to monitor the humidity level in your home and, ideally, keep it around 55%. (You can track your home’s humidity with a simple hygrometer.)

4. Watch your hands.

Always avoid directly touching your paintings or acrylic framing surfaces without wearing cotton gloves. If you do, you risk damaging them by exposure to your fingerprints and natural oils.

5. Keep your glass or acrylics squeaky clean.

When cleaning the glass or acrylic panel protecting your artwork, always use a soft non-abrasive cloth or microfiber towel. You should also consider purchasing an acrylic or ammonia-free glass cleaner.

6. Dust—don’t clean—your paintings.

If you have a unique painting that’s not behind glass or acrylic, don’t use any cleaners or solvents on the surface to clean the painting…EVER. Instead, just lightly dust off the artwork with a soft feather duster or sable brush.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ARTWORK, IF IT’S UNFRAMED:

Marko Mavrovich puts the finishing touches on a painting before the VIP event at The Henry Hotel.

7. Don’t leave your art in a tube.

If you’re not ready to hang your art yet, definitely do not leave it rolled up in a protective cardboard tube. You always want to store your art flat. Acrylic paint or embellished paintings stored in tubes can become stained, cracked, or dried up, if they’re left rolled up for too long.

8. Keep your stored artwork separated.

When you’re storing multiple works of art, always keep something in between each work while they’re laying flat. Place a 2- or 4-ply rag or conservation matboard cut 2 inches larger than the artwork in between each work. This will help protect the artwork from acidic damage, curling, and potential creasing.

9. Store art in a cool, dry, dark place.

Pantry rules apply when you’re trying to protect unframed artwork. The best way to avoid damage from sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuations is to keep your art somewhere cool, dry, and dark.

10. Consider a solander box.

If you want to be sure that your art stays protected, you might want to invest in a solander box. These are acid-free print boxes with hinged front panels that can be purchased from conservation suppliers.

 

You can join Park West Gallery’s community of enthusiastic art collectors by contacting a gallery consultant or cruising alongside Park West on more than 100 cruise ships worldwide.

 

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