© Rosamond Purcell

© Rosamond Purcell

Print Care

Suggestions Regarding the Care of a Fine Art Print


The following thoughts are taken from The Care and Handling of Art Objects, based on practices at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


If the work itself is to be handled, support the long sides of the sheet with both hands and, if possible, protect the area to be touched with folded tissue paper. Only ragboard and other high quality acid-free materials are to come in contact with works of art on paper. Keep in mind that ink jet prints are water miscible from both sides. Avoid applying materials containing water to either side of the print.


Where a composition is in no danger of flaking, acrylic sheeting with an ultraviolet absorber (UF3) should be used in preference to glass. Possible kinds of acrylic sheeting are Plexiglas or Lucite. This will protect the work of art from photochemical or light damage as well as prevent any physical damage that may occur if the glass happens to shatter.


Works on paper are highly sensitive to the effects of any type of intense illumination and should not be exposed to direct sunlight, unfiltered fluorescent lamps, or the heat of incandescent bulbs. They should never remain uncovered if not on display or being examined. Light levels in gallery and storage areas should be kept low, at five to eight foot candles. The eye is capable of adapting to low illumination, and limiting light exposure will protect paper and pigments from chemical and physical deterioration. 



Maintain 68°-72° F temperatures and 45-55% relative humidity. Excessive dampness, dryness, or heat as well as fluctuations in relative humidity and temperature will have a detrimental effect on artwork.



Preparation and handling of works for exhibition, matting, framing, storage, or shipment should be done by experienced persons only. A three-month exhibition period should not be exceeded in any calendar year.


Text by Marjorie Shelley with contributions by members of the Curatorial and Conservation Departments of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Care and Handling of Art Objects, (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1987), pp. 31-33, 38, 43, 68.