Is your artwork getting damaged just by being on display?

One of the great things about artwork is hanging it up and enjoying it, but it can also be one of the worst things to do to artwork. This may sound odd, but actually hanging artwork can be damaging it. We live in an environment that is filled with all kinds of damaging elements like, u.v. light, humidity, heat and polluted air to name a few. If sunlight can burn our skin, imagine what it can do to you artwork.  Here are a few tips that you can use to help your artwork last and still display it.


Make sure it is framed properly. If you purchased the artwork framed from a gallery it may or may not be framed to protect the art from damage. I have re-framed so many pieces of artwork that looked great, but we very poorly protected. Good archival framing should include the following elements; U.V. filtering glass with at least 95% u.v. protection. The higher the percentage the better.  U.V. glass is similar to sun tan lotion for your skin the higher the SPF (the filtering percentage) the better! Use of acid free matting and backings that will not deteriorate over time. Proper attachment of the artwork to the mat or backing. Spacers to keep glass raised above the artwork. Some types of artwork should never be in direct contact with glass. If you can see cardboard on the back of your frame, that is bad. Cardboard is one of the most damaging items that can be used in a frame.


Watch where you hang you art. Art should never be in direct sunlight even with u.v. protecting glass. If the hanging art gets occasional rays of sun though out the day that  may be fine depending on the type of art. If rooms are very bright and sunny you can also get your windows coated with U.V. filtering film that will help keep everything in the room from damage. Try not to hang art over old steam radiators or in bathrooms and kitchens where there will be excessive moisture or water could be splashed on it?


This in one area that most people don’t think about but can ruin artwork. Always spray cleaner on a cloth and then use that cloth to clean the glass. DON’T spray directly on the art hanging on the wall. The cleaner can seep down to the bottom of the frame and damage the bottom of the art and frame. Most cleaners are also contain chemicals that will damage the finish of a frame if the get sprayed on them.


Direct sunlight is not the only source of U.V. light that can damage artwork. Many artificial lights also contains some. Most Florescent and  halogen bulbs produce U.V. light, while a very bright standard incandescent could cause fading. LED lights are good because they usually produce almost no U.V. rays.

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