Natural Light Is NOT The Only Light Destroying Your Art
We hear it all the time: “But this piece won’t be anywhere near any windows or natural light, so I don’t need the ‘fancy’ glass.” This couldn’t be more untrue.
We’ve already discussed what type of glass we believe you should use for picture framing. We advocate for at least conservation glass, which filters out 99% of the UV rays. Museum is the ultimate choice, not only filtering out the UV rays, but also appearing as if there is no glass at all with its anti-reflective qualities.
But to go a little further on the subject, we need to also look at the type of light that is in the room. Most customers presume that only “UV’ light (the sunshine coming through your windows) can cause damage to artwork that is left unprotected. In actuality, even the incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs you use can have an effect as well.
Take this signed 2002 OSU Buckeyes Championship poster for example.
This piece was framed with plain ol’ clear glass and spent the last 15 years hanging in a basement rec room, presumably away from any sunlight. The customer brought it in recently because the glass had broken and damaged the matting, thus needing new mats cut and (fortunately) new CONSERVATION glass was added.
When we began to disassemble it, we popped off this pin that had been placed on top of the mat all these years. Lo and behold, a perfectly shaped outline of the pin was revealed as all else had faded drastically! Yes, it was still red, and maybe you wouldn’t have noticed too much if you weren’t paying attention. BUT, think about all of those signatures. Those fade, too! After all, that was the most important part about this poster and why, I assume, the customer had it framed in the first place…to protect the signatures.
Here’s another piece from a customer who said it had been hanging in her parents’ home for many years and then spent several of its recent years in storage in her basement. While we could argue what light it was exposed to in her parents’ house, we can all agree that it faded. Badly.
You see those bright primary colors on the left and top edges? You only saw those once we removed the matting. To anyone just looking at this image in a frame, it appeared as though the background was made up of shades of beige…when in fact, it was red, blue, and yellow. Even the customer had no idea!
Not only did it fade the colors, but the edges of the paper as well.
Moral of the story.
Overhead lighting such as incandescent or fluorescent bulbs can have just as big of an impact on your artwork as natural light streaming from the windows. Placing a photo or piece of art that you truly value (whether sentimentally or monetarily) in a “room with no windows” does not insure it will not fade over time. Quality UV protecting glass such as Conservation or Museum WILL.