“Art isn’t just about buying, it’s an ongoing commitment.”
Your art collection is much more than just an accumulation of objects. It’s a cultural heritage that you create and pass on. By caring for your works, you ensure that they remain in excellent condition, ready to be passed on to future generations. Each piece becomes a bridge between past, present and future, weaving a continuity through time. In this article, discover the importance of caring for and maintaining your works of art from home, without specialists.
Preserving your paintings: importance and considerations
Taking care of your paintings is much more than the act of cleaning. It’s a constant dialogue with the artist, preserving the life and history that lies within each brushstroke. Paintings are subject to environmental changes such as light, humidity and temperature. Preventive maintenance helps to avoid long-term damage such as fading, canvas distortion or pigment deterioration. This helps preserve the work in its original condition and prolong its life.
Is it possible to clean a painting yourself?
Our recommendations for acrylic and oil paintings:
Remove the painting from the wall, lay it on the floor, and clean it with a broad brush with very soft bristles, holding the painting at a slight angle so that the dust does not fall on it. Next, you can use a white cotton cloth moistened with mild soapy water; olive oil-based soap is fine, but be gentle! You can also moisten a microfibre cloth or use cotton swabs and gently rub them into crevices and corners.
For works on paper, you must first determine whether the work is a water-based painting or not. Our recommendations for works on paper
In the case of a water-based painting, there is a risk of damaging the piece by trying to clean it with water. We recommend simply dusting with a soft, fine, dry brush. If you notice a small stain, you can try wiping gently with a white cotton cloth, barely damp, avoiding removing the pigments.
For non-aqueous paintings, gentle cleaning with a dry, soft, fine brush followed by a damp, barely wet microfibre or white cotton cloth should be sufficient.
If the paint still looks dirty, it is best to consult an art conservator who will use a stronger cleaning product and can reapply pigmented colours if necessary.
What location to choose?
Choose a location that is stable in terms of humidity and temperature. Avoid placing paint in areas subject to sudden changes, such as near radiators or air conditioners, or in damp rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. Protect against humidity, avoiding exterior walls or areas prone to water leaks. Good air circulation helps maintain a healthy environment for paint, so avoid enclosed spaces. If you hang paint on the wall, be sure to use hooks, wires and fasteners appropriate for its weight. Avoid placing paint near areas where it could be exposed to splashes of water, food, …
And about the sun?
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight: sunlight can be damaging to paints, causing pigments to fade and deteriorate. Place your painting in a place where it is not exposed to direct sunlight. If possible, use curtains or blinds to filter light. This does not really apply to canvas paintings but for works on paper, especially when in ink or watercolours, it is important to to expose to sunlight and this can be helped by replacing normal clear glass with 70% UV glass or museum glass.
Sculpture, artworks requiring daily, meticulous care.
Precise identification of your statue’s material is a crucial step before undertaking any maintenance process. Each material has distinct properties which react differently to environmental factors, and therefore require appropriate care to preserve their integrity and aesthetics.
If you notice small light green or white spots, don’t worry! This is a sign of the quality of the bronze. It is a normal and natural oxidation of copper.
Remove dust from the statue with a soft cloth and clean it with distilled water and mild soap before rinsing and drying the bronze thoroughly. Otherwise, you can pour lemon juice on the statue and rub it with a soft cloth before leaving it for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Do not use chemicals or brushes, which will damage the surface of the bronze. Wax can be used to protect the bronze. It is applied and left to dry for five to twelve hours before applying a second coat. It is best to wax the bronze statue regularly.
Gently scrub the object with a soft brush soaked in bicarbonate diluted in hot water. Then dry with a cotton cloth.
Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with one litre of water and scrub gently with a soft brush.
You can dust your filigree sculpture with a small, soft, dry brush. If your silver filigree object has been tarnished, immerse it in a special silver/gold cleaning solution. When cleaning, make sure that your filigree statue does not come into contact with aggressive household products. Despite all precautions, it is natural for silver to blacken over time after being in contact with the air. Specialists can also take maintenance with ultrasonic machines.
To remove dust from a wooden statue, we recommend using a soft-bristled brush rather than a cloth, whose fibers can cling to rough edges. To clean or nourish the wood of your statue, never use water, household or industrial products.
If the sculpture still looks dirty, it is best to consult an art conservator who will use a stronger cleaning product.
Make sure it is not exposed to direct UV rays. Direct sunlight can cause discoloration or damage to materials. Place your sculpture in a place where it is not exposed to direct sunlight. If possible, use curtains or blinds to filter light.
Beyond the cliché: an essential guide to taking care of your artistic photographs.
Artistic photographs are much more than just prints on paper. They are windows on frozen moments, works of art that capture ephemeral moments. However, if these images are to continue to shine, they need to be treated with care. In this guide, we’ll explore preservation techniques to protect your fine art photographs and ensure their longevity.
To preserve these frozen moments in time and maintain the integrity of every shot, discover our essential tips on how to care for your precious artistis photographs.
Handle photographs with clean, dry hands or with archival gloves. Avoid direct contact with the image surface to prevent streaking. Avoid direct sunlight or frame in UV or museum glass. Store photographs in an environment with stable relative humidity and moderate temperatures.
If necessary, carefully clean the surface of the photograph using a soft, clean brush. Avoid aggressive cleaning products and rough cloths. If possible, regularly change the location of photographs to avoid continuous exposure to light. This reduces uneven wear due to light and preserves overall quality.
Watch for signs of wear and tear such as yellowing paper, discoloration, or distortion. Consult a professional for advice on restoration or conservation if necessary.
PRAGU 2022 14, by Jacob Sammut
Our essential tips :
- The frequency of cleaning depends on the type of artwork.
- NEVER use alcohol or solvents.
- If you see a stain on your painting, it’s best not to touch it and to consult a art restorer.
Ultimately, the acquisition of a work of art doesn’t end at the gallery, but rather through the time you devote to caring for it.
By adopting regular care practices, you establish a lasting bond with your collection, ensuring that every brush, every sculpture, every photograph retains its brilliance and authenticity.