Lighting Your Artwork

There are a ton of great resources for art collectors all over the country.  I believe dealers can be a huge assett for collectors, and I'm not even going to try and pretend that I know everything, so I would like to introduce Curtis Tierney of Tierney Fine Art.  Curtis owns a terrific American, Western & Sporting Art gallery in Bozeman, MT.  You can check out his website by clicking here.  I've invited Curtis to be a contributor to The Western Art Dealer blog, and he's kindly provided a wonderful article titled Picture Lights: Details and Sources.  Proper lighting is vital if you're going to invest in fine art.  You invest a ton of time in searching for the perfect work of art, then you pay thousands of dollars to purchase it, you might as well invest in showcasing it properly.  Here's a biography for Curtis, and he's very knowledgable of the Western Art market, so don't be afraid to do business with him.

Curtis Tierney earned a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences from Montana State University – Bozeman. He is the President of Tierney Fine Art in Bozeman, Montana; having launched the company May of 2006 using bootstrapping initiatives and advanced the firm through organic growth. Previously he served six years as the Director of a premier gallery that specialized in late nineteenth and early twentieth century museum quality art of the American West. Mr. Tierney has held numerous positions as art juror and trustee to public art institutions. He is a fifth generation Montanan from a family of agri-livestock producers with personal interests in art collecting, fly fishing, river paddling, American Western history and traveling.

PICTURE LIGHTS: Details and Sources
~ for hanging paintings ~

Picture Lights are helpful in bringing light to your fine art. Proper lighting with smooth, uniform illumination over the picture allows for enhanced viewing and enjoyment. The perfect light accentuates, not dominates.
  • Battery Operated picture lights illuminate art without unsightly electrical cords. However the trade off is short battery life.
  • Rechargeable battery operated models are a good option. Traditional plug in models offer stronger light opposed to battery units.
  • Hard Wired lights are the best permanent solution.
Pictures lights are typically mounted to the back of the frame, permanently or with a clip. Other mounting options included wall mount or clip-on units.
The goal of any picture light is to only illuminate the picture itself; common lengths include: 4", 5", 8", 9", 14", 18", 21", 24", 30", 36", 42".
Bulbs come in three varieties: Incandescent, Halogen, and LED. Most new lights today are Halogen. Halogen bulbs being small allow for better lighting designs. They illuminate with a whiter light than incandescent revealing the painting in a similar light as it was created by the artist. LED’s offer the ultimate fine art lighting solution, giving a warm light with ZERO UV & HEAT.
Style and Finishes
Pictures lights come in a number of different styles from classic to contemporary. Materials may include: Aluminum, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Nickel, Poly-Carbonate and Plastic. Typical finish variations include: Polished Brass, Antique Brass, Brushed Steel, Brushed Nickel, Chrome, Hammered, Pewter and Painted Colors. Match the picture light to the style and period of the frame or painting and d├ęcor in your home. 

A few sources with a broad a selection;
*Please note we don’t have personal experience ordering from these companies.

1. Lamps Plus at / Wall Lights / Picture Lights
2. eLights / Picture Lights
3. Lighting4Art
4. Lighting Universe / Interior Lighting / Picture and Display Lights

5. Fine Art Light, LLC, David Munson, 314-369-3913,
(Museum Quality Custom Lighting; Tierney Fine Art clients have successfully used)

Written by Curtis Tierney, Tierney Fine Art, September 12, 2007


  1. Nice post!!!

    Art is always and everywhere the secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time


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