Caring for your antique art need not be a full time occupation, but of course having invested in your chosen artwork, you will want to ensure it stays in tip top condition. Your gallery, if reputable, will provide you with care instructions in as much as you should need to look after your purchase, but if you find a piece in less good repair at a flea market or similar, what else should you do?
Hanging is the first crucial element of caring for your painting or print. Hang you artwork securely from the wall, in a spot carefully chosen not just for appearance, but that is not too hot, above a radiator, in direct sunlight for much of the day; nor in a spot near a damp wall or window. Ensure the mounting means the picture leans away from the wall slightly to allow free air circulation and prevent any damp issues. If brackets are required to hang a glazed picture, then be sure to screw fixing as to the frame itself, and not the back board or stretcher.
Oil paintings are usually varnished and do not often need to be glazed for protection, although your framer will advise if you would like to offer more protection. Paper art should be mounted on acid free board, and again your gallery will be able to recommend the correct product. Photographs and similar may need glazing with UV resistant glass to prevent fade if kept n a brightly lit area. Watercolor works are particularly susceptible to the problems caused by damp and must be kept away from direct sunlight to avoid bleaching. Damp should be treated immediately, and any conservation work should be carried out by an expert.
You can lightly dust your oil painting or use a brush designed for the job, and of course any glazed hangings can be kept easily clean, but as with restoration and framing, and deep cleaning work that is required is usually best carried out by a professional as most paint and print images are very delicate and the value easily compromised.
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