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5 Things You Need To Protect Your Art

Art will last forever — as long as you take the appropriate protective measures. AXA Art, an insurance company specializing in providing coverage for works of art, suffered more than $40 million in losses in New York City as the result of Hurricane Sandy. While your losses in artwork might not reach quite those levels, you still need to know which steps to take to protect your collection.

Wall Paintings!!!

Photo by Flickr user Natesh Ramasamy


Direct sunlight is one of the most damaging entities for your artwork, especially oil paintings. Depending on the strength of the sun’s rays, your artwork could exhibit damage ranging from areas of fading to bubbling of the medium that the artist used. You can protect your investment while still allowing the desired amount of sunlight into the room by using roller shades. Turning off the lights in the room when it is not in use will also help protect paintings from the light as well as the heat generated by the light bulbs.


Excess moisture can cause decay, staining, mold growth, flaking paint and distortions. Keeping the humidity level in your home low with a whole house dehumidifier located in your basement, or other unobtrusive location, is a maintenance free solution that requires no thought on your part when it comes to its day-to-day operations.


Besides getting embedded in the fibers of a piece of art or obscuring the beauty of it, dust can also scratch its surface. Use archival framing by a professional to protect paintings. Discuss the benefits of both glass and Plexiglas as appropriate coverings with that professional. While glass is easier to clean, Plexiglas will not shatter, thus protecting the painting should breakage occur.

Fluctuating Temperatures

Extreme changes in the temperatures where your collections are displayed or stored can greatly reduce their value and beauty. Be mindful of where you hang or display your artwork. Keep them away from fireplaces and doors where heat and changing temperatures can cause damage. If you must store them, avoid doing so in the attic or basement where the temperatures are usually several degrees different than the living areas of the home. Use your furnace or heat pump to ensure that your home is kept at between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round.


While you might not want to think that you and your art collection might be the target of thieves, the possibility does exist when it comes to valuable pieces. Being proactive with documentation can proven invaluable if a theft should occur. Make extensive notes about your works of art. Include details such as dimensions, when and where you purchased it, its value and any paperwork that was passed to you upon purchase. Take lots of pictures from multiple angles and in an array of lighting situations. An alarm system with specialized sensors for your artworks is necessary as well. You will likely need to add a rider to your existing homeowner’s insurance in order to cover the monetary value of your art collection.

Contributed by Jaime Fairweather, Content Advocate, SocialMonsters, www.socialmonsters.org

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