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Two books spanned open with spines touching. Emergency Preparedness and Response

Collection Recovery Methods: Paintings and Other Framed or Glazed Art

Paintings and Other Framed or Glazed Art

Oil Paintings   -   Framed/Glazed Artworks


Oil Paintings

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

Wet paintings: what to expect

Freezing Procedures

  • Do not freeze or freeze dry.
  • Wear thin plastic gloves.
  • Handle paintings carefully by the edges and support from underneath.
  • Carry horizontally.

Air Drying Procedures

Air dry only.

  • Gently remove debris from the front of the painting while wet except for water soluble or flaking media.
  • Do not remove debris from the back of the wet painting; wait until it is dry.
  • Remove the painting from the frame (leave canvas on stretcher).
  • Place the painting face up without touching paint layer
  • If possible, dry in a slow controlled manner using tenting supported by blocks under the painting to increase airflow.
  • If the paint starts to flake while drying, face the top surface with tissue like Japanese tissue or toilet paper to prevent paint loss.

If paint is stable

For limited drying space

  • Stand the wettest painting edge on top with the painting’s surface or face against a wall or rigid structure.
  • Place a support like a cloth or foam block along the top edge between the painting and the wall and beneath the painting on the floor.
  • During drying, rotate the painting 180 degrees to allow for even evaporation.
  • If the floor is dirty, cover the floor with polyethylene sheeting covered with paper.

If packing damp or wet paintings is required:

  • Wrap paintings in glassine, blank newsprint, or plastic sheeting.
  • Once wrapped, support the painting with two pieces of cardboard secured by taping the edges.
  • Write descriptive information about the painting on front piece of cardboard.
  • Wrapping the painting in plastic can cause a mold outbreak. Remove the painting as soon as possible. No longer than 48 hours in plastic.
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Framed/Glazed Artworks

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Immediately dry.
  • Drain and carry horizontally.

Freezing Procedures

  • Remove frame or glazing. (Do not attempt to remove if the item is sticking to glass.)
  • Pack as dimensions allow.
  • Freeze as applicable for media type.
  • May be freeze dried according to media type.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Remove items from frame or glazing.
  • Air-dry the item face up on absorbent material. (Do not attempt to remove if the item is sticking to glass; instead, air-dry the back of the item with glass side placed face down.)
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