Collectors buy art for a variety of reasons. For some it may be a treasured memory, for others it can be an investment. Yet others piece together a myriad collection of artworks because of the sheer passion and joy it brings to them. Art curation is not a new passion. It has been around for thousands of years. It is not surprising to find that art connoisseurs own paintings and other works of art that date back for decades, or even centuries.
Priceless as all of them may be, there could be a time when the owner of an artwork needs it stored away either for moving homes or renovations. Whatever the reason is, it is imperative that the precious pieces of artwork are stored safely and carefully. Oftentimes, owners struggle to find accurate information about how to store their art.
The most common mistake they end up making is to wrap a painting in a newspaper and place it in painting storage. This can cause deep damage to the painting in the long term.
According to the Conservation Register these are the biggest risks to your artwork to watch out for:
- Breakages, tears, loose and missing elements, impacts, smudges.
- Fingerprints etched into polished surfaces.
- Stains and marks from skin contact, eating, smoking, cosmetics, and other domestic chemicals.
- Introduction of materials and conditions that encourage pests or other environmental damage: foods, other infested objects, inferior storage materials, central heating, damp, bright light.
To offset this situation, here are five pro-tips on the best way to store your artwork:
1. Clean before packing
Using a microfiber cloth, remove any dust. Then use wood polish or metal polish to avoid any rusting or scuffing. If unsure, contact a professional to have it meticulously cleaned.
Oil paintings can be left unfinished for months or even years because they contain thick impassive passages and/or dense texture. Therefore, if you are storing an oil painting recently purchased, make sure it is dry.
2. Do not store in places with varying temperatures
Since basements are a common go-to place for storage in India, most people will think of stacking their paintings against a wall down below.
However, a painting should never be stored in a place that is either too dry or damp. Choose a room that has a consistent temperature and moderate humidity.
3. Do not stack paintings on top of one another
Storing paintings on top of each other may save space but the weight of the frames can damage them. A best practice is to get a rack to keep them off each other.
You can also use this rack to keep the paintings off the ground and away from the dampness they can absorb from the concrete and other materials on the ground.
4. Keep away from the sun
Sunlight can lead to the fading away of the colours. Hence, keep the painting covered with an acid-free cloth or preserve the packaging it came in and use it. Store it in a place away from direct sunlight.
5. Consider self-storage for painting storage
If you consider storing your paintings and artwork for extended periods, consider putting them in a self-storage. Not only will they be in a dedicated space where they are meant to be safeguarded, but they’ll come with a host of benefits that you can’t create for yourself at home. You can read up on some of the benefits here and book a unit in the same breath.
The artwork you bought is precious. Someone invested time, energy, effort, and their heart into creating it. Preserve it as best as you can so that whenever you take it out of storage and hang it up, it will beautify your home like it was painted just yesterday.