While many famous historical paintings are kept in museums, an art collector may have some pieces displayed in their home as well. If you have an original historical painting (not a copy) in your home, there are some specific things you'll need to do in order to protect your investment. Here are some steps to caring for historical art in your home.
1. Keep it away from sun, heat, and moisture
Like an antique musical instrument, your painting needs to be protected from weather extremes and high humidity. High humidity can actually make the paint soften, and heat can damage the painting as well. So you'll need to display your painting in a room that's carefully climate controlled, with both temperature and humidity kept to within tightly defined boundaries.
In addition, you'll need to store your painting in a room that doesn't get direct sunlight. The sun's UV rays can fade the paint, resulting in a loss of the original colors and making the painting's details more difficult to see.
2. Use proper security precautions
An important step for caring for your historical art is making sure nobody can damage or steal it. After all, an original painting is irreplaceable, no matter how large your insurance policy is. In addition to making sure the painting is insured, you'll need to have security systems such as alarms and monitored security cameras, as well as high-quality doors, windows, and locking systems.
3. Protect it from fingerprints
Wherever you decide to display your historical art, you'll need to make sure that fingers don't touch it. Even if you don't see visible fingerprints, fingers can leave traces of oil that damage the painting's surface over time. For example, the painting could become cloudier and more difficult to make out in those spots.
So whenever you have to handle your painting, use special art handling gloves to avoid damage. You should also consider displaying the painting behind a protective piece of clear glass or acrylic so nobody accidentally causes damage to it with their fingerprints.
4. Have it cleaned by an experienced professional
Over time, dust, UV rays, and other influences can inevitably damage any painting. If your painting is a valuable piece of historical artwork, you can't risk cleaning it yourself or having someone unqualified clean it. Instead, find an experienced art conservator who knows how to handle and clean the paint and varnish materials without damage.
These steps will help you keep your historical painting safe and clean for many years to come.