Insurer Offers Tips on Caring for Your Art Collection in Summer

Under the Awning at Zarauz beach (1910). Photo: via WikiArt
Under the Awning at Zarauz beach (1910). Photo: via WikiArt

Because it wouldn’t be summer without advice on how to protect your… art? Huh?

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is using the start of summer as an excuse to drum up business… er, we mean… offer collectors valuable advice on what they need to know about caring for art amid rising temperatures. “Paintings and other works of art on paper expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and humidity, and canvases can become looser or tighter, often changing shape,” says Laura Murphy, a fine arts specialist with Chubb, in a release on PR Newswire issued June 9. “Particularly during the summer months, collectors will want to take steps to prevent surface distortions, paint flaking, mold growth, staining and decay.”

Among the other recommendations Chubb has for collectors:

When a room is not in use, draw the blinds, curtains or shades and turn off the lights to create a cool, dark environment. Paint is organic, and it can degrade in blazing heat. Light, especially ultraviolet sunlight, can cause irreversible fading or color change, especially in paper, textiles and photographs

Keep the temperature and humidity in the home as constant as possible—65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 55% to 65% relative humidity.

Don’t turn off the air conditioning before leaving even for a short weekend getaway. Temperature fluctuations can loosen the joints of antiques.

And then there’s gem of wisdom:

Do not store fine art in your basement or attic where it can be exposed to dramatic temperature fluctuations, floods and leaks. Create an art closet with horizontal racks and a locked door. Wrap and store framed artwork front to back in a vertical position.

The insurer helpfully informs readers that its team of 20 fine art and collector specialists across the US is ready and willing to provider consulting and other services to clients who have a Chubb Valuable Articles Policy. And for those wanting to take their coverage a notch higher, there is also something called the “Masterpiece© Protection Network.” Stay cool, collectors.


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