Art Gathering Tips for Profit and Pleasure (A Six-Part Series): Chapter 5 – Art Conservation 101

After spending your precious time and resources building an art collection,

It would be a shame to lose value due to lack of knowledge.

proper care and protection for works of art. Some aging is natural and

acceptable to some extent, but deterioration or damage caused by negligence

especially when it can be avoided.

You’ve probably seen what moisture, light, and mold can do to photo prints and film.

The same environmental conditions that cause such damage

Art pieces. In fact, with the deteriorating environment, artworks are more in danger

as usual. Even modern lifestyles pose a threat. have you noticed how art is

galleries and museums discourage the use of flash cameras and other artificial lights

resources in the availability of their exhibitions?

As the curator of your own collection, it is recommended that you protect your art.

Parts of the following hazards:


Dust, dirt, human body fluids and oils (such as sweat) and acids

abrasive and discoloring for art. The first three elements are obvious, but where

acids come These are in household cleaners, air fresheners,

furniture, carpets, curtains, appliances, packaging and even

weather. Direct skin contact also damages art, so dealing with art works with art.

bare hands should be avoided.


This may be good for the skin, but the same cannot be said for the art.

Moisture, dampness or dampness breeds mold and causes foxing or browning.

stigma in art. Warehouses are often damp and poorly ventilated,

Perfect breeding ground for these evils and vermin like silverfish and

cockroach. Even the paintings and prints displayed on the walls

silverfish wormholes or worm tracks. Check out any artwork that is regularly on display for any piece of art.

potential problems.


A very dry environment can also damage art. Less constant humidity

40% can make works of art, especially paper or textile-based ones, brittle and very delicate.

fragile. Humidity should be between 40% and 60%. modern living environments

colder climates commonly use central heating or radiators, which can create the conditions.

too dry for delicate art. Try placing containers of water on it to minimize the problem.


Radical fluctuations in temperature can cause items to expand and contract. Art

It should preferably be kept at a constant temperature, as in the special exhibition.

Rooms in museums.


Art cannot be understood without light, but too much light harms art.

UV, found in both natural and artificial light, fades colors and details.

Protective Options

So what can you do to protect your art collection?

You can try to keep your artworks relatively pollutant-free in temperature and light conditions.

and humidity controlled environment. This may include:

  • buy and install custom boxes, chests, cabinets or folders
  • designating a special-purpose room or space for your collection
  • hiring dedicated storage space designed to house delicate works of art

Some shielding options, like metal cabinets, are pretty ugly, but they do protect you.

your valuables are more effective than, say, wood. Not all materials are equal;

acrylic plastic is preferable to glass, and acid-free paper is better than regular paper.

Here you will find some examples:


Variables can be confusing, so seek the advice of an art professional or archiving expert.

expert to start on the right foot.

If you keep your beautiful works of art securely locked,

They enjoy displaying and admiring them. it would be like having

cake and not being able to eat it. Find a balance that suits your needs.

Copyright © 2006 Carol Chua

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