Prints, as some in the art industry call editions or multiples, are a great entry into art collecting. A print is any work of art made in multiple versions, created via a transfer process. There are many different types of prints, and the process is continuously evolving, but the four most well-known techniques are lithography, etching, screen-print, and woodcut. Once you purchase your print, which is often rare and can be very pricey, how do you look after it?
Here is our six-step plan to ensure the longevity of your artwork.
1. Handle with care
Treat your fine art print as if you were a museum curator. Before handling your print, make sure you wash your hands. Natural skin oils or other contaminants can easily pass on to the print. Use both hands and support the back of a print when picking it up. Never attempt to rub the surface of the image with your finger as this could scratch the surface of the print.
2. Choose how you transport carefully
If you are using a third-party transporter, choose wisely. Wrap your print well if you plan to transport it. Be sure to put a piece of acid-free paper over the front to protect the print. Transport your prints flat, not rolled, to avoid damage and cracking.
3. Frame your print well
Ideally, take your print straight to a framer. When displaying prints in frames, mount them under glass, and use high-quality mounts, backing boards, and sealed frames to minimize exposure to humidity, smoke, and amongst other contaminants. UV acrylic or glass frames is the best option to maximize protection from UV rays, whilst improving the look of your artwork. When framing, leave a gap between the glass and the print.
4. Avoid Harsh Conditions
Where you hang your print will have a major impact on its longevity. Avoid hanging in damp conditions and direct sunlight. Never display your print outside.
Ahead of hanging on a wall, store your print away from anything that might press against the image surface to prevent accidents. Ideally to store keep the print in its mounted frame. If you have loose prints, do not stack prints on top of each other. Separate them with pieces of acid-free paper to avoid damage. Rough handling can damage the print so pack it securely.
Always clean carefully and with a soft non-abrasive, lint-free soft rag or paper towel to prevent dust from building up. Anything rough or textured will scratch your print. Never use cleaning products or water as this may damage the print permanently.
All images are via @nick_nemechek