ARTKABINETT members from all parts of the globe are always concerned about protecting their independent collections -- particularly during summer heat and humidity.
Chubb gives these tips to protect your art from deterioration:
1) Keep the temperature and humidity in your home as constant as possible, around 60 to 80 degrees and 55 to 65 percent relative humidity. Use an air conditioner in the summer and a humidifier throughout the winter.
2) Keep art out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light will cause severe and often irreversible damage to art, especially paper, textiles and photographs. Shut off all lights when the room is not being used and keep curtains or shades drawn.
3) Never hang artwork or a valuable object over a fireplace. Heat, smoke and ash can easily ruin them.
4) Do not store fine art in basements or attics. These areas are prone to dramatic temperature changes, flooding and leaks. If possible, create an art closet with horizontal racks and a locked door. Wrap and store framed artwork face to back, in a vertical position.
5) Frame all art, especially paper, textiles and photographs, with museum-quality materials, and hire a recommended art hanger. Shatter-resistant fronts can shield damaging UV rays and other exposures, while corrugated polypropylene backings protect against water-absorption. A professional art hanger, meanwhile, is more likely to use the proper hardware and structural supports than a general contractor.
6) Install water alert sensors in areas of your home susceptible to water damage. These areas include above ceiling trays, underneath washers and dryers and radiators.
If a water disaster happens here's what to do:
Framed Prints/Watercolors, etc.
First and foremost, once the pieces are out of the water, get the paper pieces (posters, prints, watercolors, etc.) OUT of the frames and away from the glass and cardboard backing and matboard so that the moisture does not stay in the enclosed framing.
Allow them to lay flat if possible and dry out on either a towel or blanket or stack of newspaper or even the front lawn - just get them out of the wet enclosure that the framing has become and allow to dry thoroughly.
Once they are dry and out of the frames, if there is active mold growing on it a light spray of Lysol helps to kill the mold until it can be treated, but bring them in quickly for proper treatment! And DO NOT WIPE the mold off, as it will simply smear and stain the paper.
Mold can certainly be treated, but it's best not to try not to let it begin as it can be a very aggressive stain and difficult to remove
While still wet pull them apart and allow to dry! It's very important to do this while still wet as the emulsion is like a glue and once it's dry it's much more difficult to do. You can try re-wetting with clear water again if they've already dried or if they're dirty and full of debris. Make sure nothing touches to them until they are fully dry and they've had at least 24-48 hours to dry. They may curl up, but that's ok and can be cleaned off and flattened later.
Make sure there is no water inside the framing - turn it upside down and all around to drain any sitting water behind the stretcher bars,etc.
No need to remove the canvases from their frames. The paintings may become white and heavily discolored looking hopeless, but do NOT discard or give up on them. They're surprisingly resiliant and that white is like the ring on a coffee table - it's moisture trapped between the painting and the varnish and can be removed. Again, they're fragile so treat them gently until they can be stabilized.
To deal with the MOLD growing the on the paintings, lightly spray (do not saturate) the canvas, front and back, with Lysol spray (not the liquid). This will help arrest the mold growth, and you may need to repeat this a few times. When the mold is dry and powdery it is now dormant.
You can then take the canvas outside it and the residue can be brush with a clean dry paint brush. Remember to wear a mask so as not to inhale the airborne spores, and be sure to remove all the debris from the back and not to allow it to accumulate under the stretcher bars!
Do not wipe the mold off, do not use anything stronger than Lysol, and above all do not use BLEACH or TILEX or anything with bleach in it, as this will cause more damage than the mold will cause and is not reversible.The paintings may still need professional cleaning and conservation, but this will help stop the mold from getting any worse until that time.
Remember that alot of them CAN be restored. Do not discard them until they have been examined by a conservator and let us make the determination. Water is the enemy of gold leaf and the plaster covering the wood, so it's important to allow them to dry as well and remember that it's in a particularly fragile state so don't be rough with it or it can completely fall apart before it's stabilized.
Wwood can expand up to 1 inch per foot when exposed to water, so they've likely swollen. Allow to dry slowly to stabilize.
Place in a normal environment, away from water, but not devoid of humidity all together so it doesn't create too severe a change.
Remember that it's important for a trained conservator to perform "triage" on the artwork, even if the insurance is a long way down the road or you're not insured