Illustrations by Hector Serna 

How to Hang Your Painting

Building an art collection is one of the most rewarding experiences, but many new collectors are a bit daunted when it’s time to display their new works. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind, so you can be sure you’re working efficiently and taking care of your newest prized possession:

1.  Before hanging your painting, be sure that its hanging devices are secure and appropriate for its size and weight.

2.  Also, make sure that the hardware is attached directly to the frame. For original artist-framed works or unframed works, always consult a conservator first.

3.  Once you’re ready to hang the work, make new holes in the wall. Phillips Operations crew always recommends that you do not use existing holes, as they will likely not be strong enough to support the weight of the artwork over time.

4.  Carefully secure the painting on its hook and use a level to make sure the piece is straight.

5.  Enjoy the work of art and pat yourself on the back for your unparalleled handiness each time you pass by.

How to Handle and Store Your Prints and Works on Paper

Drawings, prints, paintings on paper, photographs and some collages are a category of artwork whose defining property, in terms of art handling, is the relatively thin and flexible support. When unmounted, in particular, these pieces are extremely vulnerable to damage.

1.  Materials that directly touch a work of art on paper must be acid-free. Most commercial paper products contain an acid that primarily comes from the wood it was made from.

2.  When an artwork on paper is loose and needs to be moved, pick up a corner with either a microspatula or a scrap of acid-free paper.

3.  If you need to stack works into a folder, place slightly larger, clean, single sheets of glassine paper as interleaves between the artworks, to protect the surfaces and avoid the transference of acids.

4.  Do not stack brittle works or those with sensitive media, collage or decorative attachments on their surfaces.

5.  To remove a work on paper (either matted, or in a folder) from a stack of works, first remove all works on top of the desired work (preferably one-by-one); never pull a work out of a stack.

6.  Only some works on paper, such as posters, can be stored in Mylar. Mylar can develop a static electrical charge that is often strong enough to keep the adjoining artwork attached to it. For this reason, Mylar should never be used near works with particulate media, such as pastel, charcoal, chalk or graphite.

How to Display Your Photographs

Framing and hanging your photographs is one of the great pleasures of collecting, but many collectors have questions about displaying their acquisitions. If you follow some simple guidelines, there’s no reason to hide your photographic treasures away in a drawer.

1.  Make sure you work with a framer who uses archival matting and framing materials and has experience handling photographs.

2.  To protect your photograph from harmful ultraviolet light, instruct your framer to use museum-quality UV-filtering glass or Plexiglas. It’s a little more expensive, but worth it.

3.  Direct sunlight is the enemy of any work on paper, so find wall space that is out of range of the sun.

4.  Generally speaking, the older a photograph is, the more sensitive it may be to light exposure. Color photographs tend to be more susceptible to sunlight than black-and-white prints. So, exercise a little more care with these types of photographs.

5.  Extreme shifts in temperature and humidity aren’t good for photography (or art in general). Spaces that are unheated in the winter or un-air-conditioned in the summer should be avoided for display.

When to Use Gloves When Handling Works of Design or Sculpture 

Yes, in the movies, art handlers are always wearing clean white gloves when dealing with works of art, but that’s not always the suggested approach.

1.  Metal: Never touch metal surfaces with bare hands. Fingerprints leave corrosive oils, salts and acids and may etch highly polished surfaces. Fingerprints on metal continue to etch the surface long after being handled. Use nylon, cotton without nubs or vinyl gloves.

2.  Glass and Ceramics: Objects made of glass and ceramic can be handled without gloves since glass usually has a slippery surface and fingerprints and oils from hands can be easily removed. Slippery items (such as highly glazed ceramics and glass) can be handled with clean bare hands.