How to Protect Your Works of Art

Insects, mold, water, fire and light are just some of the things that can damage your works of art on paper, so how do you minimize these problems and still enjoy your art?

Fortunately, one of the best and easiest ways to protect your art on paper is to frame it correctly. All works on paper need to be framed under glass.  The glass is what protects the paper from most environmental elements.  You can get glass today that blocks out 98% of the damaging UV rays.  The art needs to be matted. The mats separate the glass from the art so that the art will not stick to the glass or receive damage from condensation that may form on the glass.  A spacer has been recently invented that can be used to keep the art separate from the glass instead of a mat.  This has not been used very often.  The mats need to be acid free so that they will not burn the paper of the art.  It is also important that the hinging or tape that is used to attach the art to the mat and the backing material is acid free.  This is your first line of defense.

Do not dry mount original works of art! This is a process in which posters are attached to a paper board in order to keep the paper from sagging or wrinkling.  You will damage the value of your original works of art if you do this since it visually "flattens" out the image and damages the integrity of the paper.

Next, is to display your art in a safe environment. Cigarette, woodstove and fireplace smoke takes a toll on all art. Bathrooms or areas of high humidity are not good areas to hang works of art under glass because of the condensation that can build up. 

Your art likes a nice constant temperature and humidity level.  Please keep this in mind before you adjust your thermostat when you go on vacation.

Documenting your art by photographing it and keeping your receipts and/or having a professional appraisal done will be a great help in case of fire/weather/theft problems when dealing with your insurance company. 

With just a few precautions, you will be able to enjoy your art and protect your collection for the generations to come.

Melanie Smith

Melanie is the co-owner of Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC which specializes in original fine art. The gallery was founded in 1961 by her parents and she has grown up in the world of art. She has organized numerous art shows, acted as an art judge and is an accredited fine art and animation art appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers.

Seaside Art Gallery on Ruby Lane:

Seaside Art Gallery
PO Box 1
2716 So Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959

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