Art Conservation: Preserving Your Art Collection's Aesthetic and Value

[8 minute read]

Art conservation plays an essential role in maintaining the beauty, value, and longevity of every artwork. From the most vibrant contemporary pieces to the delicate classics, understanding the nuances of art preservation is pivotal for every art enthusiast and collector.


1. Optimal Environmental Conditions for Art Conservation

Embarking on the journey of art collection is not merely about acquisition. It’s a saga of preserving emotions, history, and aesthetics, encapsulated within frames and sculptures. The environment where your precious art pieces reside plays a pivotal role in ensuring their longevity. As connoisseurs of art, understanding and implementing the right conservation strategies is imperative. This article unravels the key environmental factors and offers actionable tips to shield your collection from the ravages of time.

  1. Light Exposure: The Silent Fader

    • The Dangers of UV Rays: Ultraviolet rays are notorious for their color-fading capacity. Over time, relentless exposure can steal the vibrancy right off the canvas.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Avoid placing art in direct sunlight.
      • Employ UV protective glass to shield artworks from harmful rays.
      • Install soft lighting with a reduced UV spectrum to maintain the aesthetic ambiance without compromising on conservation.
  2. Humidity Control: The Invisible Warper

    • Mold and Warping Woes: A humid environment is a breeding ground for mold and can cause warping, particularly in wooden frames and canvases.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Aim for a relative humidity level between 40% and 60% to keep mold and warping at bay.
      • Invest in a reliable dehumidifier to maintain an art-friendly atmosphere.
  3. Temperature Consistency: The Subtle Shifter

    • The Impact of Temperature Fluctuations: Fluctuating temperatures can cause materials to expand and contract, leading to brittleness or softening over time.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Maintain a stable room temperature, ideally within the range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
      • Keep artworks away from radiators, air conditioners, and other sources of extreme temperature.

Preserving the aesthetic and emotional value of your art collection is a nuanced task that demands a delicate balance of environmental conditions. By taking heed of the aforementioned strategies, you’re not only investing in the longevity of your art but also ensuring that the tales encased in them continue to inspire. Now, with these insights, transform your space into a haven where art doesn’t just reside, but thrives.


2. Framing and Mounting: Enhancing Durability and Aesthetics

Choosing the right framing and mounting techniques is essential in the realm of art conservation. These methodologies not only augment the visual appeal but significantly contribute to the longevity of your cherished art pieces. Here, we delve into some of the imperative framing and mounting strategies that can be employed to preserve the integrity and aesthetics of your collection.

  1. Acid-Free Framing:

    • Why It's Crucial: Acidic materials can hasten the degradation of art over time. Acid-free mats are imperative to prevent yellowing and prolong the life of artworks​.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Opt for mats and backing boards labeled as "acid-free" or "archival-quality."
      • For an extra layer of protection, consider mats with a pH rating above seven, as they are crafted to neutralize acid by-products effectively​.
  2. UV Protective Glass:

    • Guard Against Light Damage: UV protective glass acts as a shield by either reflecting or absorbing UV light, thereby preventing color fading and other forms of light-induced degradation​.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Employ UV protective glass especially for artworks prone to fading. Products like Tru-Vue Conservation Clear Glass and Artglass UV 99 are excellent choices, filtering up to 99% of harmful UV rays​.
      • Ensure that the framing process is done professionally to maximize the benefits of UV protective glass​.
  3. Secure Art Mounting:

    • Preventing Accidental Damage: Secure mounting protects artworks from falls and other physical impacts. Techniques like dry-mounting and the use of archival hinges provide a stable and secure attachment to the frame or backing board​.
    • Actionable Tips:
      • Engage in professional mounting services that utilize archival materials and techniques.
      • Avoid the use of tapes, glues, staples, or nails that can damage the art. Instead, opt for reversible and removable mounting techniques like archival hinges and corners​.

The journey of art conservation transcends beyond mere possession to a realm of meticulous care and preservation. Employing the right framing and mounting strategies is a cornerstone in this quest. Should you wish to explore custom framing options for the art pieces available on our website, feel free to reach out to us. Our experts are at your beck and call to ensure your art not only mesmerizes eyes but stands the test of time.


3. Handling and Cleaning: Ensuring Longevity of Your Treasured Pieces

The journey of an art enthusiast extends beyond the realms of acquisition and display to the meticulous care of the cherished pieces. The way you handle, clean, and store your art can significantly impact its longevity and aesthetic appeal. In this section, we explore the various practices that ensure your collection remains in pristine condition over time.

  1. Art Handling Best Practices:

    • The Touch of Care: Employing a delicate touch is crucial when handling artworks. Utilize cotton gloves to prevent the transfer of oils or dirt that could tarnish the artwork's surface​.
    • Even Weight Distribution: When relocating artworks, ensuring even weight distribution prevents undue stress on the piece, thus averting potential damage.
  2. Art Cleaning Techniques:

    • Gentle Dusting: Regular dusting using a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth helps in maintaining the aesthetic appeal by removing surface dust and dirt without scratching the artwork​.
    • Professional Cleaning: For more intensive cleaning or in cases of delicate or antique pieces, it’s wise to seek the expertise of professional art conservators. They possess the knowledge and tools required to restore the artwork without causing harm​.
  3. Art Storage Tips:

    • Cool, Dry Spaces: Store artworks not on display in cool, dry spaces to prevent degradation caused by unfavorable environmental conditions​.
    • Acid-Free Protection: Utilizing acid-free materials for wrapping and separating artworks ensures they remain free from potential acid damage​.
    • Periodic Checks: Regular inspections help in ensuring that the artworks remain in good condition, enabling timely interventions if necessary.
  4. Vertical Storage: For framed prints and documents, storing them vertically preferably in cabinets separated by foam or felt-covered separators is advisable. This orientation reduces the risk of warping and other physical damages over time​.

Your art collection is more than just an aesthetic endeavor—it’s an investment that echoes the whispers of creativity across time. By adhering to the best practices in handling, cleaning, and storing your art, you not only preserve the visual allure but also the intrinsic value of your collection. Now armed with these insights, may the colors on your canvases remain ever vivid and the strokes ever bold. Your art is a narrative, let it tell tales for generations to come.


Art conservation is not just about the practices you adopt at home; it begins at the very moment of acquisition. At UNDERRATED SHOP, we understand the paramount importance of preserving the essence and value of every art piece. That's why we proudly offer custom framing for all the artwork sold on our website. Our framing is not just about aesthetics; it's about longevity and preservation. From using quality acid-free matting to providing UV protective glass, we take every measure to ensure that your treasured artworks remain vibrant and intact for a lifetime. Investing in art is a journey of passion, and we're here to ensure that journey remains unblemished.
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