Care & Preservation

Care & Preservation of art is an art in itself. Works of art are very sensitive to a change in climatic conditions and general environment. Great deal of attention has to be given to the care of these. Preventive conservation amounts to taking good care and maintaining conducive environs. Interceptive conservation is treatment of a damaged or deteriorating piece of art by an expert. Some common tips on how to maintain / preserve art collection is detailed below.

Preventive conservation includes
  • Proper framing of a piece of art
  • Wipe/Dust clean with soft, dry rag.
  • Don’t lean canvas on nail or some like object which exerts pressure.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight while displaying the piece
  •  Excessive heat, cold or humidity may prove harmful. Avoid them.

  • Lay a flat piece of cardboard, mat board or similar firm material over the front and back surfaces, and then wrap it in bubble wrap or Styrofoam wrap.
  • Try not to keep it wrapped up for too long a period as to avoid moisture buildup, which might cause damage to the work.

Cleaning Measures and Techniques

A few simple measures can give a piece of art a much longer life. All you are required to do is to remember a few basic things:
  • For dirt that cannot be blown or vacuumed, the use of distilled water or saliva on white cotton swabs is the best method. Small swabs should be used to clean small areas.
  • To clean Acrylic paintings solvent-based resins can be used. However, since the solubility gap between paint layer and protective varnish is very small one has to be very selective about such solvents.
  • To clean Oil paintings, cotton swabs dampened with saliva removes accumulated dirt. Mineral spirit should be used in small quantities only where the dirt is a little greasy without dissolving the varnish.
  • To clean Egg Tempera and Encaustic paintings, slightly damp cotton should be rubbed and then the surface should be buffed up with a piece of silk cloth.
  • Clean the surface and the back of a painting from time to time especially if it is kept in storage.
  • To prevent dust accumulation on unglazed surface of paintings they should be hung inclined top forward.
  • Accumulated dust should be blown of with compressed air or vacuumed off with a soft clean brush.
  • Dents and bulges in a canvas should be dabbed with a moist squeezed out sponge. Doing this will shrink the canvas around where the bulge is. Excess dampening could result in excess shrinking which may cause flaking of the paint. So the canvas should be moistened as sparingly as possible.
  • Using a backboard acts as a preventive measure and an effective way for added protection of a canvas. It acts as a physical barrier to water spillages and the accumulation of dirt. It also prevents moisture changes that may cause possible harm to the paint on canvas.