Showcase Your Fine Art With These Gallery Lighting Tips
Your fine art collection is a prized accomplishment. Just because your art is displayed in your home doesn’t mean you can’t light it like a professional. It’s easy to achieve a gallery-like display of your fine art with these essential lighting tips.
First Tip: Not All Lighting is Created Equal
To light art, you want it to be captivating and dramatic. To achieve that, each piece, whether a prized painting on a wall or a sculpture, has different recommendations for lighting. These lighting techniques will help ensure your artwork’s longevity and showcase your fine art in their best light.
Lamps: Which Ones Should You Use and Which Ones Should You Avoid?
Without a doubt, you can’t go wrong with LED. LED bulbs work best because they give off the least heat possible. As you probably already know, heat can be an art piece’s worst enemy and damage fine art over time. LED bulbs have minimal heat and low concentrated UV rays. You’ll want to choose an LED bulb that has a CRI, or color rendering index, of 95 or more. This will help define your art piece through proper rendering of its colors and textures.
Another option to LED is halogen lights, which give off pure white lighting. If you use halogen bulbs, you’ll want to use a UV filter and not place the bulbs too close to your art, which can damage your art over time.
You should stay away from fluorescent lights, which no doubt would damage your fine art. Avoidance of incandescent lamps is also recommended because it can cause the varnish to crack and cause colors to fade. Most fine art experts will also recommend that you completely avoid putting your fine art near direct sunlight as UV rays will damage your art.
Best Fixtures to Achieve a Gallery Effect
LED spotlights that are less than 150 watts are the perfect solution to lighting your fine art. It’s what many galleries use. What’s even better about spotlights is that you can reposition them to figure out the best angle to accent your art, which brings us to another point.
Lighting should only accentuate your art. It should never take over the display and make it too bright or underwhelm it, leaving your artwork cast in the shadows. It should merely bring out your art’s features and highlight them.
Another option for fixtures is Gooseneck lights. These lights have angled shades that pool light on artwork. Gooseneck lighting also comes in LED and halogen bulbs.
How to Position Your Lights and Art
Positioning is everything when it comes to lighting fine art. It has a huge impact on its visual appeal, as well as whether or not lighting will impact the longevity of your art.
Fixtures should be placed far enough to reduce heat damage that can occur to the art. One way to determine this is to place your hand between the fixtures and your art, moving the light until you can no longer feel heat from the bulb.
Don’t breach this point. You’ll want your bulb to remain no closer to the point of heat that you felt.
Downlighting and Fine Art
Fine art lighting designers are huge fans of downlighting. This is where their expertise comes into play. Some art should be lit upwards, depending on the size of the art and the colors in the art piece.
We typically notice the brightest object in a room. For this reason, it makes sense to use lighting and angle it in a way that illuminates all of the art piece. But, some pieces have more effective lighting when they’re only partially lit. That’s why it pays to get an art lighting designer on board to help with lighting your art. They know how to get the best gallery display and understand the factors surrounding lighting your art.
For oil paintings and glass, however, you want minimal glare, and to achieve this, install light fixtures above the pieces and aim the fixture down at a 30-degree angle. If the art piece has a lot of texture or it’s a more massive art piece, you can play around with the angle either way by 5 degrees to achieve the desired effect.
Dimensional art pieces like sculptures should have lighting come in from three angles. Diffused lighting helps highlight sculptures’ dimensional elements.
You can achieve a gallery-worthy display of your art by following just a few guidelines. Many art collectors prefer the services of an art lighting consultant to get their displays just right.
After all, they’ve invested a pretty good amount of money to achieve their art collection, and it’s only natural to want to go one step further to do an art collection justice.
At Illuminations Lighting Design, we can help showcase your fine art collection in the best light possible.
Whether you just have a couple of questions to help you get started or you want a professional to achieve the best gallery display possible, call us at 1-713-863-1133. Our experts have traveled to areas surrounding Houston and beyond to help fine art enthusiasts cast their art in its best light.