Care for Bronzes

Patina is a natural reaction of bronze to atmospheric conditions, such as chemicals and humidity. Foundries have learned to isolate these chemical compounds, speed up the reactions, and stabilize them at various points. To deter further reactions, they protect the patina with two coats of hard wax. Because atmospheric elements constantly work on bronze surfaces after leaving the foundry, certain steps should be taken by the owner to preserve the patina.

Bronzes should be displayed in ventilated areas away from excessive heat and humidity. Depending on the concentration of these two atmospheres, fuzzy green or white surfaces may appear. Dusting and occasional polishing with a soft cloth are required for normal preventative maintenance. Instead of using waxes or polishes that may contain cleaning agents, foundries recommend Johnson’s Paste Wax. A very thin, even coat of wax should be applied with a soft brush about twice a year. (Highly humid areas may require more frequent applications.) Allow the wax to sit and dry from six to twelve hours before polishing with a soft cloth.

Multi-colored patinas and certain green patinas are created by the use of many chemicals and may require special attention and more frequent waxing. Should these patinas begin to react, the areas affected should be scraped gently with a tooth pick, then waxed immediately. Another alternative is to contact a reputable art foundry and have them deal with such reactions.

Many bronze owners prefer to let the wax coating applied by the foundry wear thin while they sit back and enjoy the natural reaction and aging process of their patina.

Remember, the patina is the most delicate part of your bronze and should be handled as such. For further information, please contact any reputable art foundry concerning bronze care.