4 Aug 2008

Protect your paintings

(Nalini S Malaviya)

Monsoons are here and along with flooded basements, waterlogged roads and traffic pileups, most people are facing inconvenience in their daily life. But how is all this related to art? Well, paintings in particular are extremely susceptible to weather conditions and the increased amount of humidity in the air can play havoc with your expensive artworks.
This, in fact is a good time to take stock of your collection. One should carefully evaluate the condition of each of the pieces for any visible signs of damage.
Humidity levels in Mumbai are high throughout the year and this is one place where one has to be extra cautious with oil paintings and watercolours. However, in places like Bangalore and Delhi also, due to heavy rains, there are a number of people who are facing moulds and fungus on their prized art.

As most art lovers will be aware paintings need to be taken care of constantly. They must always be hung or stored in an environment that has optimum temperature and moisture. In watercolours, excessive humidity can cause growth of moulds or the paper may start to wrinkle. Moulds or dark spots may appear on paintings done on canvas as well. One must also check the back of the canvas for any infestation. Scattered dark spots, patches of faded colours, warping of the canvas mount or the frame should be taken seriously. One should consult a restorer for any damage that has appeared on the painting. Surface cleaning should be undertaken only if one is knowledgeable and confident about the process. If in doubt it is always better to consult a professional.

Collectors and investors spend huge amounts of money on the paintings, and therefore it makes sense to check them regularly to ensure they are in good condition so that their investment potential is not adversely affected.

(Published in Financial Times)

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