Works of art are complex composite objects, commonly made from multiple materials, and the qualities of the materials are central to their stability over time. Some materials may begin to deteriorate almost immediately while others may remain stable for centuries. Art Preservation Index® is a patented rating system for art materials and works of art based on the projected stability, or longevity, of its matrix of constituents. Works of art are frequently purchased with little knowledge of the projected stability. This rating system gives all participants in art creation and distribution a more standardized method to evaluate the longevity potential of each artwork or material.
Financial rating agencies have been rating investments for the likelihood of repaying loans since the early 20th century. Building construction materials are rated for strength and stability. Like homes, artwork may be made of materials that will degrade quickly without proper care, and in some situations self-destruct over short horizons.
Despite the fact that many works of art cost more than an average home, prior to the invention of Art Preservation Index®, no standard stability ratings existed in the art world. Presently, a piece of art could be sold at a gallery or at auction for substantial sums and, unknown to the buyer or the seller, the materials from which it is constructed might negatively interact with one another or simply deteriorate independently in just a few years, consequently devaluing the piece substantially. Art Preservation Index will help art owners, art conservators, and all participants in the art world make better plans for the conservation of art objects.