In this post we’re going to take a look at fine art, ways that they deteriorate over time and steps that you can take to alleviate it. When cared for correctly, you can preserve the original quality of a piece of artwork and maintain its beauty for the foreseeable future.

Why spend so much money on a piece of beautiful artwork, if you can’t invest enough time in learning how to maintain it properly. Not only is this essential for maintaining the integrity of the piece, but its value as well. So, without further a due, let’s kick this off with certain environmental factors that can damage art.

Excessive light

We’re not saying that you should keep your art stored away in the dark, however ultraviolet light is one of the biggest causes of art fading. You shouldn’t expose your artwork to direct sunlight throughout the day, or strong ultraviolet lights. Instead, you should place your art in areas which will avoid sunlight and aren’t directly under powerful lights.

Extreme temperatures

Extreme temperatures can damage the paper fibres, expanding and contracting them with the fluctuation of heat. This is why it’s important to maintain a reasonable temperature for your artwork. They say that when storing artwork, it should be kept between 60°-72° F (16°-22°C).

Of course, it might be difficult to maintain a steady temperature in certain climates, however investing in a climate control system might be worthwhile if you’re displaying particularly expensive artwork.

Humid conditions

Humidity is a nightmare for causing mould and mildew. This can cause irreparable damage to fine art, which is why you must do what you can to avoid storing art in humid conditions. In the same breath, there is such a thing as too little humidity, causing brittle fibres to crumble and deteriorate. Find the right balance and maintain it as best you can.


Certain pests are able to thrive in various conditions, such as silverfish. These little blighters can cause some serious damage to your art, given how much they love eating paper. Do your research and take preventative steps to keep them away.

Reckless handling

When transporting art, ensure that anyone helping you is aware of its value and the correct way to transport it/handle it. Dirty and heavy hands can stain and seriously damage a piece of artwork, so you must always handle with care!

Do not…

  • Lean anything against the surface of a painting (if you wish to protect the surface, frame it in anti-glare glass with a non-acid backing)
  • Dust your artwork with a damp cloth or cleaning products (always with a soft, dry microfibre cloth, when necessary)
  • Hang art in busy and potentially messy areas
  • Transport artwork without wrapping it thoroughly and packing with care
  • Trim or cut a print, the borders (or bleeders) are there for a reason. It might seem as though you’re tidying a piece of artwork up, when in actuality, you’re simply decreasing it in value unnecessarily
  • Use self-adhesive tapes for hanging artwork (these can cause significant damage to a piece)
  • Attempt to repair your artwork yourself. If for whatever reason you have accidentally damaged a priceless piece of artwork, then seek out professional help to restore it properly. Often, if you try to fix a piece of art yourself, you’ll invariably only make it worse (unless you’re a trained professional)


If you take this information into consideration when displaying or storing your artwork, then you shouldn’t really run into any problems. Just treat it as the extremely rare and delicate item that it is, and endeavour to treat it properly.

Also, try to check on the condition of your artwork periodically. These kinds of preventative steps can help you to ensure that your artwork remains in good condition. The moment you neglect it, the sooner unnecessary damage can occur.

Artwork is best enjoyed over long periods, and seemingly gets better with age. If you have something which is a point of pride for you, and you love it dearly, then you must treat it with respect.

In the same breath, you should educate your family / employees and house-guests on the matter as well. One tiny mistake can be the difference between a stunning & priceless piece of art, and the tattered piece of paper. Don’t take any unnecessary risks!