So you've purchased some original art work and want to know how to look after your investment to keep them looking as beautiful as the day you bought them. There's not much to it but you may want to follow a few simple rules.
Like your furniture, prolonged, direct sun, is something best avoided to prevent fading over the years.
Oil paints are generally the most light stable. Painted on gessoed canvass or treated wooden panels, they dry to a very hard surface and most colours are very lightfast.
Acrylics are a fairly new medium, having only been available since the 1950s and thus their long term stability is not known yet. It is my understanding that they are slightly less lightfast due to preservatives and additives in the paint.
Watercolours, prints, or any medium painted on paper is the most sensitive to light degradation and fading. It is important to keep these behind UV treated glass and away from direct sunlight. Paper in generally deteriorates in bright sunlight.
Basically, environmental extremes (light, temperature, humidity) of any sort should be avoided with any art original or print.
It is important to prevent a build up of dust on your oil and acrylic paintings. Compressed air to blow away dust is best or a very soft sable artist brush can be used to dislodge dust from highly textured surfaces. Never use polishes to clean the surface of either an acrylic or oil painting. Acrylic paintings have a softer finish than completely cured oils and dust can stick more readily to them. Oil paintings can take at least 6 months to a year to cure completely and may be varnished by a professional at that time if you wish. Often the artist can do this for you is you but is not necessary as oils become very hard when they dry.
Protecting the Surface:
When storing or transporting a canvas painting, never lean the canvas against an object or a dent or worse, a tear, can occur. Always wrap a completely dry painting in tissue paper followed by bubble wrap if you need to transport it. When transporting more than one painting, the canvasses can be stacked if their surfaces are protected and their wooden stretcher bars rest directly on the bars of the other painting.
If you have a canvas that has accidentally leaned on a sharp object and a dent is visible, try misting the backside of the canvas with water. As it dries it should tighten the canvas again in that area. Should you have a tear, these can be repaired professionally and often by the artist.
Don't fear buying original art. Place it where you can enjoy it and with some basic care you will be able to enjoy it for a lifetime.