Sunlight is the source of energy that all life on earth needs. But while you can sing praises of the sun, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows (pardon the wordplay). For instance, art galleries may have a hard time dealing with hanging artwork in the sunlight. Works such as old master paintings can be hard to preserve (not to mention even newly created pieces) when the sunlight shines on them.
As such, art galleries contact companies such as CVS Equipment for specialty louvres and sunscreens. There are certain facts about sunlight and paintings that they have to heed, especially if they look to preserve the valuable works for long enough.
Things To Know
When it comes to hanging artwork in the sunlight, it depends on the piece. There are ones which can withstand constant sunlight, as well as those which can’t. A conventional oil painting can take sunlight exposure quite well. That is, as long as there isn’t any exposed canvas. Canvas sheets are at the mercy of sunlight. The layer of oil paint acts as some insulator. This is the same for acrylic works.
But if the piece is a watercolour work, it should never be hung in direct sunlight, or it’ll risk fading. The same thing goes for paper works and photograph prints unless there is a layer of UV-protective glass. UV rays are most damaging to works that have fugitive dyes and colouring agents in the paint. Furthermore, this doesn’t only apply to hanging works in sunlight but also keeping them in storage.
Many art preservation experts recommend either diffused artificial or natural light. This is to ensure maximum longevity of paintings, specifically oil-based ones. These paintings must be kept away from constant, year-long exposure or the painting’s brilliance, colour balance, and hue will change. The worst case scenario is that the paint flakes off. If a gallery has no choice but to display works in sunlight, extra precautions must be taken into consideration.