August 03, 2016 2 min read

Original South African paintings not only deserve recognition but also demand the utmost of care. There is little point in investing in South African art - be it created from oils, watercolour or a blend of mixed media - if you are not committed to its longevity and well-being.

Apart from the obvious damage which may well be incurred by neglect, the value of any authentic South African painting will fall dramatically if it is not properly preserved. Imagine, too, how the artist will feel if his or her creation is effectively abandoned by the new owner?

We have collated a number of significant tips on how to care for South African art, paintings in particular.

  • Avoid hanging paintings, particularly watercolours, in direct sunlight or near any other harsh light source. The colours will soon fade.
  • It’s essential to hang watercolours under glass, ideally treated with UV protection similar to that used on sunglasses. This will not only cut down on the glare when viewing the piece but will also afford extra protection for the delicate watercolours.
  • Dust build-up has the ability of drying out oil paint which in turn can cause cracking and peeling. Dust regularly with a soft, dry cloth but avoid using any chemicals on your original South African painting.
  • Consider professionally varnishing your oil painting. It not only forms a protective layer, keeping the surface intact and free of cracking but also has the ability of enhancing the image.
    Avoid extreme heat, cold and humidity. In fact, the ideal constant temperature for any painting is around 21 degrees Celsius.
  • When transporting your work of art always hold it on either side of the frame and lay it in a flat piece of cardboard which fits over the front and back surfaces. Wrap it in bubble wrap and, if it is going into storage, ensure it is stored in an upright position. 
  • Moisture is a particular problem, especially with watercolours. Check regularly for condensation under the glass and if necessary, remove the frame, dry the painting naturally and reframe carefully.
  • Most 3D mixed media works will have a protective seal on them already, applied by the artist. To keep them clean and attractive, simply wipe them over with a clean damp cloth - no chemicals.
  • Last but certainly not least, seek the advice and expertise of the professionals in the event of damages and never, ever intentionally destroy or damage an original painting, rather return it to its creator.   

Do contact us if  you have any enquiries regarding the care of any piece of South African art  that you have purchased through Fine Art Portfolio either online or through our reputable South African galleries.

Mark Wright
Mark Wright

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