Conservation: Artwork on Paper

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Over 2,000 years ago, paper was invented. How awe-inspiring that something so frail has never lost its value.

Perhaps nothing is as delicate as paper. In conservation terms, damage to paper can be either internal or external. Internal damage is part of the nature of the paper or the marks on the paper; external damage is due to factors like environment. Often, it is a combination of the two.

The major damage to paper comes from light, temperature, and acidity. The prevention of these three components is essential to the preservation of any works on paper.


  • When matting be certain to ask for conservation quality materials
  • Consult a conservator for appropriate light, temperature and humidity settings
  • Keep pieces out of direct light, and if at all possible away from light entirely
  • Temperature must be strictly adhered to so as not to encourage mold, mildew or brown spots called ‘foxing’
  • If mold is found on a framed piece immediately remove and air it
  • Discuss with a conservator of the proper method of documentation
  • Do not repair any damages with paper clips, tape or glue, instead consult a conservator immediately
  • Issues and questions around acidity should discussed with a professional, but copying any originals on
  • acid-free paper is recommended, as is keeping paper that has a high acid content away from other paper
  • Do not touch pieces with bare hands
  • Never drink, eat or smoke in the vicinity of the work


  • If pieces are framed, be certain glass is ultraviolet filtering
  • If storing flat, always use protective matting between pieces
  • Be certain all containers are made from acid-free materials

Featured Providers

AAMG / Art Asset Management Group, Inc.

[Not Rated Yet]
Xiliary Twil, Accredited Senior Appraiser Fine Art 8549 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 184
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

West Lake Conservators Ltd.

[Not Rated Yet]
Susan Blakney Box 45
4207 Rail Road Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152

Orlandini Art Conservation

[Not Rated Yet]
Valeria Orlandini 4515 Willard Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815


[Not Rated Yet]
George Schwartz 6620 E Rogers Cir
Boca Raton, FL 33487

Heller Conservation Services

[Not Rated Yet]
Thomas and Dawn Heller
Nashville, TN

Heller Conservation Services

[Not Rated Yet]
Thomas and Dawn Heller
Greenbrier, Tennessee

Mckay Lodge Conservation Lab., Inc.

[Not Rated Yet]
Robert Lodge 10915 Pyle Rd.
Oberlin, OH 44074