A Guide to Longevity
Embarking on ownership of a cherished piece of paper art—be it a captivating photo, a unique drawing, or an art print—is a thrilling experience, one that serves as a lasting keepsake. However, the longevity of this precious possession hinges on proper handling and preservation.
Most prints, constructed with ink and paper configurations designed for permanence, boast a predicted display life of over 100 years when handled with care. Nevertheless, damage resulting from improper handling or exposure to extreme environmental conditions can be permanent and exacerbated when framed under glass.
The delicacy of the printed material makes it susceptible to crescent-moon creases, especially when unmounted. When handling artwork or photo paper, it’s crucial to support the long sides with both hands, lifting the paper from opposite corners (e.g., top-left and bottom-right), allowing a gentle bow or sag in the center. For added protection, consider using folded paper or wearing clean cotton gloves.
Works on paper are highly sensitive to intense lighting and should be shielded from direct sunlight, unfiltered fluorescent lamps, or the heat emitted by incandescent bulbs. Displaying artwork in locations with excessive heat, humidity, or drastic temperature shifts should be avoided.
For optimal preservation, professional framing with archival-quality, 100% acid-free materials is essential. This not only shields the print from photochemical or light damage but also guards against physical damage, such as shattered glass. If the print is stored rather than displayed, laying it flat and separating it from other prints with acid-free paper is recommended. Storage conditions should ideally maintain temperatures of 68-72 °F (20-21 °C) and humidity levels between 45-55%.
By treating paper art with the care it deserves, including professional framing and mindful storage, it can be cherished and enjoyed for a lifetime and beyond.