Modern art lighting isn’t just about providing enough illumination to see the subject; it’s also about blending into the aesthetics of the artwork. There are a number of precious works from this period, some of them created by masters like Picasso and Matisse, and they deserve a fixture that is just as beautiful.
But showing off priceless works can be tricky and requires a great deal of forethought to do correctly. This is why a homeowner should consider visiting museums, galleries and illumination designers to get ideas on how to pull it off.
Safety and output are two primary concerns when setting up modern art lighting. Most pieces from this period used oils, and these are highly sensitive to excess heat and ultraviolet radiation. Placing the fixture too close to the painting and using certain types of fixtures will damage the work and cause it to age faster than it should. This is fixable with proper fixture positioning and UV filters.
Illumination output and spread are essential components to proper display. However, the dimensions of the room, the height of the ceiling, the subject’s colors, style and ambient illumination can all alter how the lighting looks as it strikes the piece. In general, it is best to aim for a level of intensity that is three times greater than ambient illumination, but this usually takes some fine tuning to get right. That’s why it is best to consult with a lighting designer, as these experts can help develop a collection of fixtures that offer the right amount and color of illumination for any piece.