One of the most common risks fine art need to be protected against is fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Not understanding the risks these pose to your art can lead to irreversible damage. So, how does temperature and humidity affect fine art?
Mould and fungi
High relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air which can promote the growth of both mould and fungi. Mould growth occurs when relative humidity is 70 per cent or above which promotes the growth of bacteria, causing bio-deterioration. Not only is mould damaging to art, removing it is also risky, depending on the materials in the art.
Expanding and contracting
Fluctuations in temperatures and humidity can cause the expansion and contraction of certain materials used in fine art, including wooden picture frames. Each material used in fine art responds to moisture and heat differently and can cause them to warp, split or break. Moving picture frames can also cause painting canvases to stretch and warp, stretching the paint and making it crack.
Humidity and heat can also cause a chemical reaction in fine art, depending on the materials used. Corrosion of metal occurs if the conditions allow it. This can also cause colours in art to fade or weep and sweat. Crystallisation and the movement of materials like salt can also occur, damaging the art.
Airborne dust and dirt
Paintings should be stored at room temperature but the more serious threat than temperature is humidity and exposure to airborne dust and dirt. Airborne dust and dirt can cling to your art, especially if the art is sweating from the heat or moisture thanks to the higher relative humidity.
Grace Fine Art provide a reliable and professional white glove service to keep your fine art and antiques protected against both temperature and humidity. Our storage facilities meet museum and gallery standards to ensure no damage comes of your art. For more information on how we can keep your fine art safe, get in touch with us.