Handling Artwork

Handling artwork is a delicate matter that requires much care and caution.  To ensure that your fine art remains safe and in excellent condition, we recommend the following tips while handling fine works of art:

Prints/Works on Paper

  1. Always wash your hands and wear either white cotton or polyester gloves when handling works on paper. This prevents fingerprints and marks caused by fingernails.  It also prevents damage caused by the moisture and oils in your skin.  Try to only touch the artwork along the one inch wide borders or outside of the image area.
  2. Beware of crinkling, or bending that leaves a permanent crease or flaw on the surface of the print.  To avoid crinkling, use both hands to pick up prints, ideally placing a flat support beneath them so that they do not bend or fall with their own weight.  To turn over a print, place sturdy supports (such as foam board) on both top and bottom and sandwich the print in between as you flip it over.
  3. Avoid folding or rolling prints, as this stretches the paper fibers and can cause breaks or damage to the surface as well as creasing.
  4. If prints are stacked upon one another, be sure to place archival tissue or glassine paper in between them so that they do not rub against each other and cause surface damage.
  5. Store prints in a temperature of around 20°C/68°F and a relative humidity of around 50%.  Try to avoid extremes of heat and humidity.
  6. Avoid long-term exposure to sunlight or strong indirect daylight.  Some artificial lights such as fluorescent lights also emit a lot of UV light that can damage prints.
  7. For storage purposes, be sure to always pack prints in archival, acid-free materials.

Sculptures/Ceramics

  1. Always wash your hands and wear either white cotton or polyester gloves when handling sculptures, especially ceramics. This prevents fingerprints and marks caused by fingernails.  It also prevents damage caused by the moisture and oils in your skin.
  2. Pick sculptures up with both hands.  Where you support the sculpture depends on the shape and size, but ideally you should support the bottom and a side.
  3. To clean sculptures, use a can of compressed air (an air duster) to dust terra-cotta, raku, bisque, and other unglazed, soft ceramics.  With glazed artworks, the use of a soft brush is preferable to a cloth, which can leave behind hard-to-remove fibers.  If a piece has a coarse surface or fragile decoration prone to flaking, avoid using a brush or cloth to dust the surface.
  4. Store sculptures in a temperature of around 20°C/68°F and a relative humidity of around 50%.  Try to avoid extremes of temperature and humidity or rapid temperature changes as this can throw works into thermal shock and cause cracking and breakage.
  5. Avoid long-term exposure to sunlight or strong indirect daylight.  Some artificial lights such as fluorescent lights also emit a lot of UV light that can damage prints.
  6. For storage purposes, be sure to always pack sculptures in archival, acid-free materials.


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Shipping Informatoin

Custom Packing and Insured Shipping
Expert custom packaging and insured shipping guarantees the safety of your work and the security of your investment while in transit.
We typically ship using FedEx, as they assume full insurance for door-to-door transit of your artwork. We charge actual shipping and insurance costs, plus the cost of the packing materials. We never charge a handling fee. Feel free to contact us for shipping quotes. Should you opt to use a shipper other than FedEx, we ask that you please notify us prior to shipping. Please note: shipments to California residents are subject to local sales tax.

Masterworks Fine Art Gallery schedules shipping for our clients. Works can be shipped via FedEx Ground (3-5 business days), 3-Day, 2-Day, Standard Overnight or Priority Overnight shipping. Purchases typically ship within 3 days of payment clearance. We ship daily, Monday – Friday. Special delivery arrangements can be made, if needed.

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