The Collectors’ best practise in choosing a responsible Fine Art Shipper


Aug 16th, 2023

Written By 

Paul Beatson is the Senior Technical and Project Advisor at Crown Fine Art
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Imagine yourself taking a high value artwork from one room in your house and hanging it another. This may sound like a simple operation but have you considered how heavy the work is, how fragile the edges may be, what unusual materials may have gone into making it or how those materials might react to changes of environment such as temperature or light? Now imagine moving that same artwork to the other side of the world.

1. Responsible Fine Art Shipping

The responsible fine art shipping company is defined by the quality of expertise from within. Worldwide, Crown Fine Art has teams of technicians who deal with every medium in fine art every day; Operations teams who prepare and make-ready fine art for shipping anywhere and Coordination teams with strong, sector-specific logistics chains which span the globe. This is industry-insider knowledge and not something commonly found at just any logistics organisation.

2. Customised Casing – not just Crating

Now that you have lifted your ‘imaginary’ artwork off the wall you will probably want to place it down briefly on a soft surface before moving it on. The knowledgeable fine art shipper is able to create a safe and stable environment for your artwork wherever in the world it is to be placed – mitigating the most common external risks, and many that are less well-known such as off-gassing or material damage to easy-damaged surfaces which could instantly reduce a work’s value. The process that most describe as crating is better known to us as ‘casing’; a small word change to the uninitiated but the first sign of the level of detail we look at to ensure we understand and respect what is being entrusted to our care. 

3. Procedure, procedure, procedure - worldwide

Every step of the journey that fine art takes has hazards which are beyond the Case alone. Temperature and humidity ranges vastly worldwide so your artwork may be subject to huge fluctuations to be avoided only by using the correct climate-controlled, museum-grade warehousing. Preventing incorrect attribution of artwork titles is yet another small detail which is critical in ensuring a smooth journey. As is avoiding cultural sensitivities, misappropriation of country-specific license or customs regulations, any of which could lead to artworks being impounded, or worse. It is incumbent upon the responsible fine art shipper to have a depth of relationship with known international agents around the globe which is second to none, and to use this knowledge to your advantage or can construct the right kind of insurance package against the unknown. 

4. Seeing your artwork safely to its journey’s end.

The private collector is as passionate about receiving a new acquisition as any museum or gallery but even they wouldn’t have an army of full-time art technicians on hand for every time a new artwork arrives. Except for the rare instance when a high-end gallery might choose to send in their own art technicians to assist installing art for their very best clientele, it is more likely the Collector will want a fine art shipper who can also deal with the final and, maybe, the most important detail of all; the installation. Especially if after a few weeks the artwork needs to be moved from one side of a room to the other, or one house to another, or even from that one part of the world to yet another. The reality is that anything in the art world is possible and choosing a partner who understands this is vital. Now imagine selecting a logistics agent who doesn’t understand any one of the above. 
If you're interested in reading more, check out our Crate essentials: Bespoke artwork deserves bespoke protection
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