Light is the enemy of most art. Paintings, prints, photographs and even textiles are all detrimentally affected by light, with fading and damage to fibers being the most obvious and irreversible. Works on paper are especially vulnerable but even sculptures can be affected by too much light. At our local art galleries, we always consider the various light sources and strive to limit our paintings’ exposure to light as much as possible.Long-term exposure to any light, whether it be sunlight, fluorescent, incandescent or even tungsten, can result in the fading, darkening, bleaching, yellowing or brittleness of your wall art. Protect your art and its worth by limiting any damage. You can enjoy its beauty for years with these helpful tips:
- Always keep art away from direct light. Fluorescent light and sunlight can be particularly damaging because of the high concentrations of UV radiation.
- Avoid mounting picture lights to the frame itself. They can cause hot spots within your image. Indirect light sources, pointed elsewhere, can call attention to your art without making it vulnerable to damage.
- Cover windows with UV protective film in rooms where art is normally displayed. Close curtains and blinds whenever possible for further protection against sunlight.
- Rotate your art. By moving your art pieces to different walls or different rooms, you help lengthen their lifetime.
Measuring the light that your art is exposed to will help you to mitigate any future damage. Light is measured by “foot-candles” and can be measured with a handheld light meter. Generally speaking, experts believe that for photographs and paintings, 5 to 10 foot-candles is recommended. Less if on permanent display, as within a home. Some oil paintings and wood objects are okay with up to 15 foot-candles.