Glass does little to shield artwork when subjected to direct sunshine. The rate with which art lightens and fades without non-glare glass is right about the same as with it. Non-glare glass and even especially coated ultraviolet glass does little to protect artwork from fading. While glass manufacturers and retailers may attempt to convince you differently, museum curators know the reality. A memorial curator never places a precious piece of artwork on screen without ensuring its security first.
Sunlight and Artwork
How quickly a piece of artwork fades when exposed to light is dependent upon if it’s summer or winter. Sunlight has less impact on artwork but can still harm it with continuous exposure. A piece of art exposed to the direct intensity of summer’s sunlight fades more quickly, in as little as a few hours or days, compared to sunlight exposure. The majority of the retail glass available for protecting art does little to shield it from the UV rays of sunlight, especially when the art is subjected to harsh sunshine.
Museum curators use a particular kind of glass — called conservation-grade — that includes four distinct sandwiched layers and coatings. The glass typically comprises two special optical coatings, one on top and the other on the bottom, a layer of glass plus a third conservation-grade UV coating beside the glass prior to the final optical coating. When coupled together, conservation museum-grade glass may block up to 99 percent of UV rays, while still allowing around 97 percent light transmission. Museum-grade glass has a 1 percent reflection factor.
Original pieces of artwork require protection from sunlight and even protection from indoor lighting, which can also emit UV rays. The very first step in safeguarding original art begins with hanging it where it does not receive direct exposure to sunlight. If you hang artwork on a wall that receives sun — even just a few hours every day — the artwork fades with time, with or without non-glare or UV glass. To avoid facing, place artwork on walls that face away from sunlight or on walls that don’t get harsh sunlight. If you add a light above your art, confirm the bulbs do not include UV rays too.
Choosing Glass for Artwork
The value of a piece of art is subjective, unless you have it assessed by an art appraiser for insurance or auction functions. In case you’ve valued art that’s also insured, don’t place it receives exposure to harsh sunshine. Insert a frame that contains museum-grade glass to watercolor art, signed and numbered prints, or lithographs by your favourite artist. Oil and acrylic paintings typically don’t have glass , but you also can shield them using conservation-grade glass if you would like.