Paintings are meant to be seen not stored in a dark place. But if a situation calls for storage, it should be carefully planned and carried out. This protects your paintings (and their value) for the future.
How to Store Artwork
Storage of paintings should be carefully planned and carried out so that you can continue to enjoy your investments in the future. Oil paintings are particularly demanding in terms of safekeeping – while photos and prints can easily be temporarily stored in dark but dry cellars, the oil painting places significantly higher demands on its environmental parameters. If these are not observed, damage to the respective painting can quickly occur and the value of the painting can be impaired.
Oil paintings like light, but not the sun
The most important thing when storing paintings is room temperature. In museums and galleries, the exhibits are therefore stored at a constant room temperature of 21 ° C and a constant humidity of 45%. As a rule, private art lovers do not have the possibility of such a control, but you should still make sure that your storage room is as dry and constant as possible (temperature fluctuations between a maximum of 14 and 21 ° C). Basement rooms, for example, are usually not the preferred storage location for oil paintings because they often have a humidity of over 50%.
It is also important that you do not expose your paintings to direct sunlight since UV radiation has a negative effect on the color intensity. In an environment that is too dark, however, there is a risk that the colors will darken considerably. This applies in particular to oil paintings that have not been treated or have not yet been treated with final varnish. LED lamps are an excellent alternative not only for storage but also for any subsequent lighting since they do not contain any UV radiation.
In addition to the room temperature and the lighting conditions, you should pay particular attention to the hygienic conditions of the storage location – in the event of insect infestation, not only can moth or lice feed on the canvas and frame, but in extreme cases, the insect droppings can also change the colors of your oil painting decompose. Once this happens, the only salvation is often a professional restoration of the painting. Of course, we would be happy to advise you on this, just in case, but with correct storage, it should not be necessary to restore your paintings.
Well packaged is half the battle
If possible, oil paintings (artist oil paint on canvas) should be stored with a frame, as this gives them the necessary stability and also protects them from dust deposits. If paintings are stored without a frame, there is a risk that the canvas will bend in the area of the edges and the paint application will crack. The framed, upright paintings should be separated from each other by layers of foamed styrofoam and leaned against a smooth wall on a solid surface so that they stand securely and cannot tip over.
If possible, unframed paintings should not be rolled, but should be stacked flat on top of each other, separated by a layer of styrofoam. However, if it is essential to roll the paintings (for example for transport purposes), you should make sure to use sturdy cardboard or wooden rolls with a large diameter that offers space for sufficient padding. The painting should always be rolled up with the color side out. Since this measure can quickly lead to pressure marks, paint chips, and stretching, you should avoid rolling up your paintings if possible.
Oil paintings have to breathe
Unlike photos or prints, painted pictures require a minimum amount of fresh air. For this reason, you should generally refrain from using plastic packaging materials, as these not only restrict the air supply but also increase the risk of mold infestation due to the formation of condensation. A more stable variant than the storage between polystyrene layers is the use of wooden or cardboard boxes, which are specially made for this use.
If you want to prepare your storage space optimally, you should take care not to use synthetic fibers, but rather moisture-storing and untreated materials such as wool or cotton and unsealed parquet flooring. Under no circumstances should a possible coat of wall paint contain latex paints, as these also hinder the air supply. These measures help you to create the best possible indoor climate for your paintings, even in the private sphere.
Note: If you need to transport your painting, make sure to contact a professional. Choose a professional removalist with years of handling experience to ensure the safety of your art. Prior to hiring services, request for interstate removalist quotes to have a clear idea of the fees. You may also ask for terms and conditions to know the extent of their service and insurance coverage.