How to Safeguard Oil Paintings?

   Posted by: admin   in Art News Updates



When it comes to artworks, no other form matches the exclusivity, the charm, the elegance, and the vivacious appearing oil paintings.

Oil paints came to the origin in the 14th century but oil paintings became prevalent in the late 16th century.

If you want to look at the world’s most valuable paintings, oil pieces dominate the top-10 list comfortably.

Apparently, oil artworks are expensive and so as an art lover, you should know the best tricks that could preserve these pieces.

Let’s see how these superlative oil paintings on canvas and other mediums can be kept safe from external factors:

Dusting is important

Purchasing a painting is a sacred experience. When you get your hands on an art piece you desire, the feeling is just incomparable.

So, keeping your artwork safe is your responsibility. To begin with, the utilization of natural-hair artists brush or Japanese brush for dusting can do the trick.

Keep dusting the painting in the back and forth motion unless the painting is disinfected completely.

If the painting is chipping or cracking, it is not recommended to do the dusting. Also, avoid using conventional feather dusters, water, sprays, or any cleaning material that may react with the paint.

Preserve it with care

Always ensure to keep your paintings in a dry room. If that’s not the case, wrap up your artwork in tissue paper.

This avoids the moisture to emerge on the artwork that ultimately affects the texture of the painting.

Keep the artwork where there is proper air circulation and there is zero probability of bugs, animals, and dust.

Look for external hand

If the painting suffers:

  • Damage
  • Cracking
  • Peeling
  • Flaking

You can always hire a professional. There are several diligent paintings conservators that hold immense experience in preserving and restoring the artwork without impacting its originality.

These experts also offer tips that are useful in maintaining the longevity of your art piece without compromising on its blissfulness and charm.


Being an art collector or an art zealot, you must be familiar with varnish. Varnishing is a process to safeguard oil paintings on canvas by locking out the dust and dirt.

However, with time, your painting may demand re-varnishing. Always consult an art professional or a painting conservator before you start re-varnishing your artwork.

Also, when re-varnishing, make sure to utilize a flat brush and implement the varnish from the top all the way down in a zig-zag pattern.

Always use a flat surface to keep the painting down and re-varnish. Applying the varnish vertically isn’t advisable.

While re-varnishing it is important to cover the overall artwork. Use a dust-free and warm place to dry the varnish.

Miscellaneous tips

Some other recommendations are:

  • Always take care of one painting at one time. Do not hurry while cleaning or dusting an artwork.
  • Ensure to hold the artwork by a frame if you require to move it.
  • Do not wear accessories like jewellery, bracelet or any such things that could scratch the painting.
  • If the frame is not placed properly, ensure to fix it.

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Unlike to representational style or figurative art that is centered to display an illustration of reality, abstract art has no subject or object that is relatable to the real-life elements as we know them.

If you look up the existence of abstraction in art, its existence can be seen in artworks that are centuries old.

However, the term got its popularity during the early 20th century. It was this spectacular time epoch that witnessed the creation of some of the best abstract artworks by renowned artists of the last century.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the well-known famous abstract paintings of the human era:

1.    ORANGE, RED, YELLOW – 1961 (Mark Rothko)

This art piece is an exemplary epitome archetype of color field painting style. This particular art form, i.e. ‘color field’ is typically regarded under the umbrella of abstract expressionism.

The feat of this exquisite art style is that the main theme of the painting is color itself.

It means that Mark Rothko, who was considered as a trailblazer of color field painting, utilizes commensurable rectangular blocks of multiple conflicting but commutual colors together.

famous abstract paintings

His work, “ORANGE, RED, YELLOW” is considered as an unforgettable contribution to the world of art.

It is the otherworldly appeal, the silent hue of colors, and the epicness in the plain texture that got this painting sold at a staggering $86.9 million dollars at Christie’s in May 2012.

2.    MOUNTAINS AND SEA – 1952 (Helen Frankenthaler)

The best part of abstraction is that it opens up doors for new possibilities. This is what happens when lyrical abstraction was derived.

In generic meaning, lyrical abstraction is all about freeing yourself from any interference other than your instantaneous consciousness.

It’s all about how your intuition can drive you to create something mesmerizing quickly without any pre-set thought or notion.

Helen Frankenthaler, who was a pioneer in making lyrical abstract paintings and one of the first expositors of this art style, created her best composition, MOUNTAINS AND SEA in 1952.

What’s more amazing is that this was Helen’s first exhibited work too.

The technique she adopted in developing this impeccable piece of art was soak-stain, where she cascaded turpentine-thinned paint onto a canvas.

This process produces lustrous color washes that seem to blend with the canvas.

3.    COMPOSITION VII – 1913 (Wassily Kandinsky)

He is the father of abstract art – the man who brought the mystique and impeccable world of abstraction as we know it.

Wassily Kandinsky produced one of the most distinguishable paintings of his career, COMPOSITION VII, in his early days as an artist.

His collection of paintings made during the onset of his career is termed as First Abstract Watercolor.

For every composition that he created, Kandinsky studied several techniques and art styles. For COMPOSITION VII, he studied the most.

The final version was however prepared in just 3 days. This painting is known for displaying a fateful subject matter of inundation, Doomsday, Revival, and Heaven.

This makes it one of the highly famous abstract paintings made since its dawn.


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