Tips for Displaying and Preserving an Art Collection
Half the joy of collecting is actually displaying your collection for the world to see. This seems particularly true in the case of art aficionados, as the items that they choose to collect are natural display pieces. Whether you're just beginning to curate a collection or a seasoned veteran when it comes to art auctions, it's important to ensure that you're taking proper care of the works you obtain. This requires very little additional effort and time, but can make certain that your collection stays as radiant and impressive as possible. Check out these tips on how to display and preserve your works of art for years to come:
Art is often best enjoyed in a well-lit room, but light can also be detrimental to certain types of artwork. Paint is an organic substance, and lengthy exposure to natural light or heat can cause it to degrade rapidly. In order to avoid fading or changing colors in paper, textiles or photographs, ensure that you draw the blinds in the room housing your art when it is not in use. Further, attempt to create a stable, non-fluctuating temperature in the room. When unoccupied, the room serving as your collection's home should always be cool and dark, ideally between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Something that many art collectors neglect to take into account is the way in which moisture in the air can affect their collection. Humidity is something that must be maintained in order to prolong the longevity of your works, particularly paintings. In addition to maintaining a constant temperature, you'll want to keep the relative humidity in your home between 55 and 65 percent. Humidity can cause paintings to warp, distort or stain, or even cause the wooden frames holding them to expand, contract or crack. In addition to controlling the humidity in your home, you'll want to avoid storing artwork in either the basement or attic, as these two points of your house are most susceptible to swings in temperature or moisture.
Assuming that your entire collection is not on display at one time, you need to take care when storing any artwork not currently out for viewing. First and foremost, you'll want to leave the piece in its frame, if applicable. Wrap the work in bubble wrap or another form of lightweight padding to keep it from sustaining damage in movement. Dedicate a space, such as a large closet, to hold art exclusively, and install horizontal shelves in it. Store the art front to back, letting it stand vertically, on a series of horizontal shelves. The temperature, light and humidity in this room should be maintained as described above.