Skip links

Conditions of keeping artworks in galleries

Conditions of keeping artworks in galleries


Works of art have high material, spiritual, and cultural value. Therefore, their preservation and maintenance are of particular importance and the utmost care and attention should be given to them. Works of art are those goods that, unlike other objects, cannot be replaced and are the product of the artist’s creativity in a specific time and place, and if any negligence or carelessness occurs in the way of preservation and maintenance of works of art in galleries, it is an irreparable loss.

Art galleries are places intended to display and sell works of art to the public. The works of art in the galleries can be of various types, such as paintings, sculptures, ceramics, carpets, calligraphy, photography, etc., and each of these works of art requires special maintenance.

The storage conditions of artworks in galleries depend on various factors, including the type of artwork, the materials it is made of, and the environmental conditions. However, there are some general principles regarding the care of artworks in galleries that should be followed. Stay with us to discuss the conditions of keeping artworks in galleries in this article.


Ten of the largest galleries in the world


Introduction of the book about the preservation of works of art in galleries

Gary Thomson’s book examines the environmental factors that affect the preservation of works of art in museums and galleries. It covers topics such as temperature, humidity, lighting, and pollution control and provides practical advice for maintaining optimal conditions in museum spaces.


Factors affecting the preservation of works of art


The following factors influence how a work of art should be maintained and care measures should be adjusted based on them:

  • Type of artwork
  • The type of materials that make up the work of art
  • Environmental conditions

We will continue by explaining each of these factors.


Type of Artwork


The type of artwork is one of the most important factors in determining its maintenance conditions. For example, paintings should not be exposed to direct sunlight due to their high sensitivity to light. Due to their large size and weight, statues should be kept in a safe place away from traffic.

Here are some of the important factors to consider when storing different types of artwork in galleries:


  • Paintings: Paintings should be away from direct sunlight due to the use of paint and oil in their construction. Also, these works should be stored in a place with proper temperature and humidity.
  • Statues: Statues have large weight and dimensions, and it is better to place them in a safe place away from traffic. Also, they should be protected from dust and possible damage.
  • Photography: photos should be kept away from direct sunlight and humidity due to the use of paper in their construction. and be cared for in a place with a suitable temperature.
  • Decorative works of art: Decorative works of art, such as furniture, dishes, and other items, must be protected against possible impact and damage. Being in a place with the right temperature and humidity is important to preserve these works.


The material of the work of art


The type of ingredients is also an important factor in the preservation of works of art. For example, canvases are made from different materials such as linen, cotton, and jute. Each of these materials has its characteristics and requires special care.


For example, linen canvases are sensitive to light and should be kept away from direct sunlight. Cotton canvases are slightly more resistant to light, but still better not to be exposed to direct sunlight. Jute canvases are the most resistant to light and moisture, but they may change color due to moisture.


Environmental conditions


Environmental conditions are perhaps the most flexible and important factor in the preservation of works of art, because it is a factor that is under the control of the caretaker, and by observing important points, favorable conditions can be created for the preservation of works of art in galleries. Temperature, humidity, light, and dust are among the environmental factors that can damage works of art. We will examine each of them below.

The most important factors that should be considered in the maintenance of works of art in galleries are:

the light


Cracking, cracking, and even loss of pigments in works of art. Therefore, artworks should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Artificial light can also damage artwork, especially if it contains UV. Therefore, UV-free lamps should be used for lighting the galleries.




High humidity can cause mold, decay, and deformation of works of art, but low humidity also causes them to dry and crack. Therefore, the humidity of the galleries should be controlled at an optimal level.

The temperature and humidity of the environment should be determined in a suitable range for the type of artwork. The ideal temperature for storing works of art is between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius and relative humidity is between 40 and 60 percent. Going out of this range can cause damage to works of art.




High temperature is a factor in the drying and cracking of works of art. Low temperatures can also cause freezing and damage to work. Therefore, the temperature of the galleries should be kept within the appropriate range.




Dust can dull the color of works of art, cause scratches, and even destroy their surface. Therefore, galleries should be cleaned regularly.


Insects and animals


Insects and animals such as termites, cockroaches, and birds should not be neglected. It is better to check the galleries regularly for the presence of insects and animals and clean them if necessary.


In addition to the factors mentioned, other factors can also damage works of art, such as:


  • Impact and physical damage: Works of art must be well protected against impact and physical damage.
  • Sudden changes in temperature and humidity: Sudden changes in temperature and humidity can damage works of art.
  • Chemicals: Chemicals such as smoke, detergents, and cleaners should be used with caution so as not to damage the works.


Prevention of damage to works of art


Preventive measures should be taken to prevent damage and preserve artworks in galleries. These measures include:

  • Choosing the right place: The place where the works are stored in the gallery should be in a place that is safe from direct sunlight and sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Proper equipment: The gallery must be equipped with proper equipment such as an air conditioning system, humidity control system, and UV-free lighting system.
  • Regular maintenance and upkeep: The gallery should be regularly cleaned and checked for insects and animals.

By following these tips, artworks in galleries can be well protected and their damage can be prevented.


Special measures in galleries for the maintenance of works of art


Framing: Framing works of art protects them from impact and physical damage. Also, frames can help improve the appearance of the artwork.

Varnishing: Varnishing works of art take care of them against dust and pollution. Varnishes improve the shine and beauty of works of art.

Storage in special conditions: Some works of art, such as historical works of art or works of art made of sensitive materials, need to be stored in special conditions. For example, some historical works of art must be exposed to low light to prevent them from fading, or some works of art made of sensitive materials such as paper or cloth require controlled temperature and humidity.

Galleries should seek the help of experts in the field of preservation and care to protect their works of art in the best possible way.


in the end


In this article, we talked about the importance of basic maintenance of artworks in galleries and reviewed some points. Art galleries should have a team of experts who are responsible for the maintenance of works of art. According to the type of artwork, these experts do the necessary work to maintain it. Keep in mind that if the work of art has a special history, or has been damaged in the past, you should take special measures to preserve it.

By following these tips, you can protect artworks in galleries well and preserve them for future generations.

More resources to study


To read more, you can refer to the following articles:

Artist’s Tips for Artwork Preservation

Preserving paintings and frames

The Art and Science of Preservation

Caring for your works of art

The Art of Conservation and Restoration

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.

Join our mailing list for updates about our artists, exhibitions, events, and more

Check the robot
Please enter a number from 24 to 24.
Bot Cheker