Protecting Your Art From Fading

Being in the archival framing business for over 30 years, it was common for people to bring in their previously framed artwork and other personal effects whenever they noticed any deterioration with their artwork.

This would include some showing signs of fading, discoloration or other related negative effects to their artwork.  We would remove the guts from the frame and examine the contents to see what materials and workmanship was employed..

When disassembled, it was usually noticed the glass or acrylic was NON UV filtering. That's right.  Regular cheap glass was used when conservation glazing was needed to protect the item.  The works were usually framed within the past 10 to 20 years of the framing when UV filtered glazing was available.

When a photograph, document or other item has fading, it is nearly impossible to restore it to its original condition. And, do you notice those stores that offer photo restoration? Well, they aren't really restoring the photo. 

That's right.  The so-called "photo restoration" stores, who offer this service don't really restore the original photograph.  They just scan the original damaged photograph and digitally enhance it, printing a copy.  But, unfortunately, the original is still faded. 

If there is no sentimental, historical or monetary value to the original item, then a reproduced copy may suit you fine.  However, if there is any important value in your artwork or photograph, then it is strongly recommended you use a trained professional conservator experienced in true photograph restoration.

For antique photographs and other important documents,  never use an amateur. Professional conservators can be found through other experts in related fields or conservation organizations. 

To prevent artwork and other related items from fading when framing, make sure you take two precautions. 1) Use 99% UV filtering glass or acrylic in the framing of the art or photograph and, 2) Keep your art out of direct sunlight and other bright lighting.  The combination of these two factors will protect your original artwork for many years.

Normal indoor light away from the path of direct sunlight (indoor light) is allowed and expected.  Just ensure that direct light is not hitting it and the use of UV filtered glazing.

When I see artwork containing the proper glazing and out of direct sunlight, it still maintains its original condition years later. 

Remember, as "curator" of your own little gallery, it is up to you to protect and ensure proper framing materials and techniques in preserving and protecting your items for many years..