Since the beginning of civilization, art has served humans with a decorative purpose and/or a special link to their past. Over the course of centuries, or even just a few years in adverse conditions, art can become discolored or damaged from many different factors including: humidity, improper cleaning, temperature, careless handling, poor storage conditions, previous clumsy restoration, dirt, fire, flood or even vandalism.
Protect your artwork from the very beginning! Here are some tips on how to do so:
1. When purchasing the artwork, inquire about any special requirements that are needed to protect the piece of art. Ask the gallery for their advice on cleaning and maintaining the art.
2. Think very carefully about where you want to display your art. Any art exhibited over a fireplace can expect damage or discoloration from smoke and heat. Art displayed in a kitchen will most likely also experience discoloration and damage from cooking oils and different types of odors. Rooms with many windows may cause the art to become discolored from sun radiation and heat.
3. Examine and research before handling and moving the art. Make sure you are able to pick up the art safely, and clear a safe and wide path for moving. Also, consider that environmental changes from moving the art might cause detrimental changes to the color and deterioration of the art.
4. When transporting the piece of art, make sure conditions are not extremely dry or cold. Art tends to crack in these types of conditions. Do not move a piece of art to an unheated vehicle in cold weather. It is best to transport art in moderate temperatures, such as the fall and spring.
5. Cleaning or repairing the piece of art is best done by a professional art restorer. It is important that materials used to clean or restore the art are compatible with the original materials. This will require intensive research. If not, this could seriously damage the piece of art beyond reparability.
6. BE PATIENT! Be aware that art restoration takes a lot of time, research, money and patience.