It is exciting to buy and display new art! Having something you love the look of and connect with is wonderful and you are going to want to protect that. For this reason, I wanted to talk a bit about how to keep your fine art prints protected from fading, damage, and overall preservation.
Everything I work with is rated as archival on display for 100 years without fading, so long as it is properly displayed. Even metal prints can deteriorate faster if exposed to extreme humidity, direct sunlight, and temperature changes. Keep these things in mind when choosing where to display these prints.
If you want to get the most out of the longevity of these prints you will need to make sure they are inside, in a dry room, out of direct sunlight, and kept clean as even dust can cause negative impacts to the surface over time if left unchecked. Also, make sure the prints are behind some kind of glass unless specifically designed to be displayed without. Metal prints hang naturally without anything in front, and acrylic prints have a protective layer naturally which also protects from both gas and more UV fading than standard prints or metal.
Gas fading is another danger to prints that many don’t know about or fully understand. At the most basic level it is the second most dangerous natural occurring process that affects the longevity of prints. It is due to the presence of pollutants in the air which cause instability of the inks/dyes. Today, most prints will have some level of resistance built in, but over time nothing in open air is truly perfect. The acrylic prints are the most resistant to this as they are face mounted and sealed through the process to a uv-resistant and gas sealed system. You can also get fully sealed frames that are gas-impermeable as well for paper prints.
If you do chose to frame a print there is another important consideration. An engineer might look at this as a problem with design having the print angled to the wall, but if a print is hung flat against a wall there wont be air circulation behind. This is only a real issue with framed prints as they can create their own micro-environment through a greenhouse effect. If the heat can’t escape through the back it can cause the print to warp through variations in temperature and humidity inside the frame.
At the end of the day, art is meant to be viewed, examined, and absorbed. If you are careful then the prints will look like they did the day you first saw them. Being a good caretaker of art pieces is not easy when displaying them in your home and it takes patience and understanding of the particulars of each material involved. If all of this stresses you out and you just want the art to out survive you and then some generations you can always keep them in dark storage out of sunlight, humidity, and atmosphere where they will last 200+ years!