During a trip to San Jose, I was fortunate to meet the owner of a small gallery. While showing me around, I was able to find a few interesting pieces; unfortunately, she was reluctant on parting with said pieces. I then saw an unusual painting being restored, it was from an artist I have never heard of, but what intrigued me were the unusual patterns and holes it had. The gallery owner told me of a terrible incident a few weeks prior; she discovered that the place she had stored the piece in front of us was infested with termites. All but one painting, the aforementioned piece, survived the terrible attack of the pests.
The lost paintings had little to no intrinsic value, but I saw that for the owner it held great sentimental value. She had told me the story of the piece and its lost sisters, but we won’t be talking about that. I felt for the gallery owner, and I wish not for me or any other art lover to ever experience such a terrible ordeal. It was then that I decided to share a few things that could save your art collection from such an end. Here are a few measures you can take to avoid such an incident from happening to you.
New Gallery or Storage Space
When moving to a new location or getting a new storage are for your artwork, it is important to hire an exterminator. If you live in San Jose, the gallery owner recommends the company Pest Control San Jose, telling me that they were the best in her regards. This is to make sure that any pests living in the area would be dealt with before your art ever arrives.
It would also be best for you to keep the services of the pest control company, setting a schedule for quarterly or semi-annual preventive measure. Of course, you will need to make sure that they would use chemicals that would not harm your collection, as that would defeat the purpose of you hiring them in the first place.
New Additions to Your Collection
Regardless of where or who you purchased your new piece from, it would be in your best interest to hire professionals to thoroughly check them for any signs of pests residing in them. I had heard of collectors devastated by being unfortunate enough to walk the pests in through a “Trojan horse.”
Food and Cleaning Services
You can’t avoid bringing in food into the gallery, it’s the perks of a party after all, but after your event, you must be certain that not even a single spec of food is left. That is why I recommend having a cleaning crew that you are highly confident in, both in-house and an additional crew for cleaning up after a big event.
If possible, when there is no event, I recommend that you strictly do not allow any food or beverage in the gallery, and never in your storage facility.
Here are some useful tips from Philadephia Museum of Art – http://www.philamuseum.org/conservation/10.html?page=5
Do all of this, and I am sure that you will never have to worry about pests destroying your collection.