Protecting Your Hanging Artwork

Oct 14, 2014

The perfect piece of art deserves the perfect spot in your home – free from harmful household activity. We want to help you prevent losses, so consider the following when choosing your artwork’s location in the home:

Direct sunlight

Over time, paintings and prints on paper or cloth will fade due to prolonged exposure directly to sunlight. While prints fade more quickly than acrylics on canvas, extreme exposure can cause any canvas to expand and slacken.

Artwork on paper is especially at risk of cockling – a ripple or wave effect typically seen near the edges of the frame. As cockling spreads, it will eventually destroy the print.

Sunlight also causes matting to fade or burn itself into paper. Intense heat can damage wood frames too, particularly during the summer months and in warmer regions of the country. Wood expands in heat, which can stress the canvas or paper.

If your artwork can not avoid direct sunlight, we recommend installing state-of-the-art sunlight filtering covers on your windows.

Heat

Fireplaces create an unstable environment for artwork due to sudden heating and cooling-off. This perpetual cycle puts stress on pigment, paper and wood treatments. The same is true of furnace registers or radiators. When hanging artwork in your kitchen we suggest you carefully consider its proximity to the oven or stove.

Smoke

Artwork on canvas can be at risk of smoke, which can cause irreversible damage. Smoke is acidic and will cause discoloration or decay to paper and pigments over time. The most common sources of smoke and accidental fires come directly from the fireplace and tobacco use.

Earthquakes

If you live in an earthquake-prone region of the country, you can take precautions to prevent your artwork from being damaged from a fall. Consider hiring a professional hanging company, as they typically provide the safest and strongest hooks.

Metal mounts and acrylic or plastic clips can also be attached to the wall to stabilize hanging art during seismic activity. We recommend consulting with your local museum or art professional before installing any hardware.

Other potential risks include: burglary, extreme or rapid temperature changes, foot traffic, and humidity.

As always the Private Client Risk Services team is ready to work relentlessly for you. For more information please reference other parts of the Risk Solutions Series: Sculpture Protection, Artwork Care/Maintenance and Storing/Shipping Artwork.

Download: Protecting Your Hanging Artwork (PDF)

Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliates including Crestbrook Insurance Company. Home Office: One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH.

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