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Estate manager skill: Caring for paintings and fine art

As an estate manager you may be responsible for caring for your employer's art collection. It is important to know the proper procedures for handling and cleaning in order to prevent damage.

Transport

  • Carry one painting at a time – Stacks of small paintings can be scratched or dented if held together. Two or more people should be used to carry large items.
  • Never lift a painting from the top – Always carry piece from the sides of the frame or stretcher.
  • Protect the art from your body – Wearing cotton gloves will protect a painting from oil and fingerprints. Remove loose jewelry like watches and bracelets, as they can scratch the art.

Hanging and display

Sturdy hardware should be used when hanging a painting.  For maximum stability, wall hooks should be driven into the wall studs. Large paintings should also have an anchor and a bracket under it to help bear its weight. After the item has been placed, you should periodically check all of the hanging equipment, as these devices can wear down over time.

Another important thing to consider is where in a house a painting is placed. Humidity can cause mold and bright lights can cause paint to peel.

Cleaning

If there are no signs of loose paint, you can use a clean and soft artists' brush to dust a painting. The piece should be positioned on a padded surface and held upright at a forward angle so the dust falls away from the face of the painting.

You should never use moist cloths, hard brushes or household cleaning materials on a painting. If you are unsure of how to clean a certain painting, contact an art conservator. People in this position have years of experience working with all sorts of paintings and will be your best source of information.

If you are an experienced estate manager looking to take the next step in your profession, contact Colonial Domestic Agency. Our counselors can help you find the position that you've been looking for.