Proper Fine Art Storage

Fine Art is not only something to be enjoyed but is also an investment. To help retain its value, fine art must be maintained and cared for, not only when it is on display, but when storing it as well. It is essential to understand how to store your fine art to prevent damage. Watch the video below to learn more about proper fine art storage and store your fine art and keep reading for more tips and information.

Proper Fine Art Storage

Proper Fine Art Storage: Why Art Must be Carefully Stored

There are multiple reasons you may wish to store your art rather than place it on display. Artists must keep their art stored as it awaits exhibition. Gallery owners may have rotating exhibits that require some art to go into storage from time to time. Art owners may need to place their art in storage as they relocate or redecorate. Sometimes, a piece is so valuable that an investor might choose to store their art in a safe facility.

Unfortunately, simply storing fine art doesn’t guarantee that it will remain safeguarded at all times. Whether storing paintings, photographs, sculptures, or antiques, proper storage requires thoughtful placement, adequate surrounding space, climate control, proper air quality, and regular maintenance. With attention to these details, your investments, heirlooms, and carefully curated art pieces will last for many years to come.


Five Ways to Properly Store Fine Art


1. Sunlight and Ultraviolet Light

Long-term exposure to UV light from direct sunlight or even fluorescent lighting can cause fine art to crack, peel and fade over time. To protect items framed under glass be sure to use glass that is designed to block UV rays such as Conservation or Museum glass. Ultraviolet rays not only cause damage to watercolors and oil paintings, but also antique furniture, rugs, photography, and other items, so take care when considering their placement.


2. Climate Control

It is important to store your fine art in a climate-controlled environment. Overly dry or humid conditions can cause paint cracking, paper curling, or even mold or mildew growth. Extreme heat causes paint fibers to weaken and eventually crack or separate while very cold environments can cause several artists’ mediums to become brittle as well. If you are thinking of keeping your artwork in off-site storage, be sure to ask if the facility is climate controlled.


3. Box, Crate, Separate

If you need to take your fine art off display and put it in storage it is important to make sure it stays protected. Boxing or crating your art reduces the risk of damage. Be sure that the box or crate is large enough to not put pressure on the art and provides proper padding and support where needed. Try to keep any materials from touching canvases or other delicate materials. If you are storing your pieces for a short duration, make sure they are not touching each other.. Sometimes using a large mat board or similar material can help separate and protect paintings when they must be stored together. Many times a painting leaning against another can cause pressure marks or even punctures.


4. Maintenance Cleaning

Although your fine art may need professional cleaning at some point, it is important to lightly clean it to remove dust on a regular basis. Dust built up over time can permanently adhere to some pieces. Most art can be dusted carefully with a soft lint-free cloth. Avoid using any type of cleaner because this may cause damage.


5. Nicotine and Smoke-Free

It is crucial to keep your fine art away from areas where nicotine and smoking are present. Art exposed to nicotine or smoke over time will develop a yellow film on top that must be removed by a professional restorationist. The lasting smell of smoke in artwork, furniture, and other items can be extremely difficult to remediate. Both of these conditions can negatively affect the value of your items.

Are you interested in learning more about proper fine art storage solutions or the best place to store your fine art? Contact Simpson Galleries today to learn more about how we can help you with your fine art storage needs.


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Video Transcript

Welcome back again to Simpson Galleries. I’m Laura Bledsoe, the in-house restorationist and auction coordinator.

Typically, the pieces we receive that are in need of restoration stem from improper storage. A lot of times, it’s pieces that have been forgotten about, shoved in the back of a closet, or put in conditions that are not climate-controlled. If they’re left in direct sunlight for very long, if they are exposed to high temperatures or low temperatures, anything that is extreme can adversely affect a painting.

Items that are improperly stored in places such as closets risk the possibility of puncture, pressure marks, dust, and dirt accumulation. If you have pets, dander, and fur. Paintings that are stored in extreme heat are susceptible to cracking and separating. This is just due to the nature of the materials that most artists use. They simply aren’t meant to withstand those kinds of temperature extremes.

Paintings that have been exposed to nicotine use will generally have a thick yellow film over the surface. With the right solution, this can be removed and the piece can be revarnished in order to give it its previous vibrancy.

When deciding where you’d like to hang your piece in your home, take into consideration where the sun will be. You never want to leave a painting in direct sunlight for too long as this will cause damage. Always make sure that there’s no other materials leaning against, touching, or otherwise interfering with your piece of space. Even pieces that have been properly stored after so much time will need to have restoration work done due to the materials that the artist used at the time, and the date on which it was created. Some of these things just aren’t meant to last.

If you would like more information regarding storing and maintaining your pieces’ beauty, please contact us at