Preserve your art collection with these 5 essential tips

There’s something about collecting art pieces that makes their preservation much more pressing compared to other luxury items—and that’s the individuality aspect. There may be hundreds of 1973 Porsche 911s in existence, and thousands of bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Pinot Noir Burgundy, but the original artwork you have purchased is likely the only one of its kind.

With that in mind, it’s imperative you take the time to learn exactly how to display and care for your collection so as to preserve its integrity, condition, and value for many years to come.

On this page, we’ll discuss the five aspects you should consider to ensure your art pieces remain in top condition.

1. Choose your light source carefully

As with many other collectibles, sunlight is the enemy of art pieces. That’s not to say you should house your collection in a room devoid of natural light—far from it. Natural light is an important tool for showcasing art pieces, but you must avoid direct UV exposure.

To illuminate your works, use LED lighting with adjustable fixtures that can change the direction of the beam if pieces are moved. It’s worth experimenting with a variation of light conditions—utilize natural light when safe and appropriate, and consider installing side lighting to help bring some pieces to life.

2. Get creative with location

Collectors are moving away from assigning a dedicated room to display their art collection; instead, architects are ensuring that most walls in the house can display pieces, giving homeowners the ultimate freedom in deciding where best to place their prized possessions.

Again, watch out for areas prone to excessive sunlight. Humidity and temperature are important factors too: aim for environments of between 40% and 60% humidity and between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Take extra care when moving art

When making your next move, don’t attempt to transport those valuable works yourself. Employ a dedicated art handler to take care of the process to ensure your pieces are not damaged during the move.

Check with the gallery or artist you purchased from for any additional transportation tips that are unique to each work of art.

Also, consider insuring your collection in case anything happens during the relocation efforts. For bigger and high-value collections, insurance is essential in general to keep your investments secure.

4. Appreciate the importance of a good frame

A good frame for your art is paramount to its longevity and ongoing protection from the elements. Poorly framed pieces can facilitate damage from moisture and air, resulting in warping, tearing, and more.

Enlist the help of professional framers if you have doubts about the frame quality of your pieces—as well as when installing works that are new to your collection.

5. Keep track of cleaning and maintenance efforts

With such a wide variety of mediums and materials your art pieces can come in, maintenance of your collection is a very personalized task.

For many pieces though, simple periodic dusting can be enough—as long as essentials such as placement away from direct sunlight are taken care of. For specific cleaning instructions for certain art types, it’s best to consult with a professional. 

Larger collections would benefit from a more robust maintenance schedule as well as thorough record keeping. Track any maintenance carried out on your pieces, plus details such as who carried out the work, costs, and what happened. This documentation—along with the likes of certificates of authenticity—is vital if you ever want to sell off any of your collection.