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Art’s Delicate Journey

17th August 2015

Transporting fine art is an art in itself. Understanding how to prepare the art for its journey, and trusting the capability of the vendors you work with, are prerequisites for the successful shipment of your favorite piece.

The Devil Is in the Detail
When transporting fine art internationally or across the country, there are many details to track. Vetting the trucking or air freight company, making sure the art is wrapped and stored in a climate controlled environment, and documenting the process of transport (including photographing the goods and providing detailed condition reports along the way) are important tasks that should be at the top of your list.

Also, any shipping agreements or estimates should be given in writing. Here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Either yourself, a gallery, auction house or museum will need to have insurance in place. Shippers and truckers do not cover your valuables to their full value unless specifically agreed upon in writing. Read the fine print and retain copies of all documents.
  • Arrange for a site visit in advance to meet with your art handling representative and discuss the job scope. Confirm which materials/equipment will be used and especially those that will have direct contact with the artwork(s).
  • Ask those involved if they can or will provide “Shock Watches” (small sensors that capture and indicate when a container/crate has been exposed to a significant force; usually from a fall or collision), “Tip and Tells” (also small sensors that capture and indicate the improper handling and orientation of a container/crate) or GPS tracking devices to record and monitor each item or shipment.
  • Make sure you are working with someone who understands the nuances of shipping and crating. For example, a travel-frame or slat-crate is often suitable for 2-D artwork. Two dimensional artworks are usually framed works on paper or paintings on canvas. However a skeleton-crate or slat-crate is better for transporting 3-D artwork, which encompasses any number of sculptural artworks, running a wide range of sizes and materials.

Ultimart’s Portfolio policy gives clients the peace of mind that their artwork will be suitably protected in transit. Our insurer, Chubb, is a leading insurer of privately owned fine art and insures 60% of the top 200 art collections; so you can be sure you are in safe hands.

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