Those who spend time and money on fine paintings should know that these precious purchases could be easily compromised due to environmental hazards or improper care.

Oil paintings are fragile objects and are easily damaged by light, heat, humidity, dust and dirt. An oil painting is a complex structure of various layers. If any layer deteriorates, or is damaged, it could seriously affect the entire piece. Here are some tips on how to retain a paintings value.

The professionals always recommend not hanging paintings in direct sunlight. One disguise; however, is to frame the art with a UV filtering acrylic rather than a glass frame. It’s actually lighter than glass and will protect the art from fading or yellowing in direct sunlight.

Temperature also plays a part in art preservation. Temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit will cause paint layers to crack and flake away. Attention must also be paid to the humidity of the room in which the painting is displayed. It is best to keep the humidity level around 55 percent. The humidity in the home can be tracked with a simple hygrometer.

Always avoid directly touching paintings without wearing cotton gloves. Exposure to natural oils causes damage.

Never use any cleaners or solvents on the surface to clean the painting. Use only a feather duster or a sable brush. A sable brush is an artist’s paintbrush.

Artwork that is shipped in a tube should not be left in the tube. Even if the plan is not to hang the painting on the wall immediately, it needs to be stored 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.

Always keep something in between each piece of artwork while they’re laying flat. Place a conservation mat board in between each one. This will help protect from acidic damage, curling and potential creasing. Mat boards can be found online.

Store the flat pieces in a cool, dry, dark place. Solander boxes are perfect because they are acid-free print boxes with hinged front panels. They can be purchased from conservation suppliers.

All oil paintings should be framed. The frame is more than a decorative, it also serves as an additional support to avoid warping. It’s essential to choose a frame for structure as well as aesthetic appeal.

Following these simple steps will insure your artwork stays in top condition for years to come.

Roman Poet Horace -“A picture is a poem without words.”

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