Collaborative innovation in a crisis

October 23, 2020

A message from Crown Fine Art’s Vice President

Initially, we thought the pandemic was a short-term state of affairs – as, I imagine, did most of the world. It was only as time went on and the situation worsened globally that there was a definite sense of trepidation as to what the future might hold.

Between local lockdowns and ongoing restrictions on international travel, it takes a concerted effort to stay optimistic. I wanted to write this message to talk about the immense positivity, dedication and ingenuity shown by both our clients and colleagues the world over.

American writer Thomas Merton once wrote “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Never has a sense of purpose and a desire for escapism been so vital than in times of chaos and turmoil.

Connecting and communicating across the globe

Our most important area of focus has been supporting our clients and colleagues. We wanted to make sure everyone was informed and knowledgeable about how Crown was operating and the measures put in place to manage the risk of Covid-19. For us, communication and continued dialogue were key to ensuring our clients felt confident and safe in our services – particularly in an environment that was constantly changing. In the event of future national or global lockdowns, we will strive to continue this consistent communication and ensure you are all kept up to date and involved in our services and ways of working.

We also feel very positive about the improvement in collaboration between our own teams. The social distancing and lockdown rules between each country have differed so significantly that it was (and still is) vital for our regional teams to catch up on a daily basis. This allowed them to understand how the restrictions had changed and work out practical solutions (and the masses of necessary paperwork) for art traveling abroad. I am extremely proud of our colleagues for working so diligently and collaboratively both at the height of the pandemic and beyond.

The move to digitization

Challenging times certainly breed ingenuity. Pre-Covid, we were fortunate enough to start working alongside FloatScans, a 3D scanning company in the Netherlands. They’ve developed a scanner that can create digital twins of real world objects at an extremely high level of detail. At a time when international auctions are taking place online, we are able to show prospective clients how a piece of art might look in their own environments through augmented reality. We’re looking forward to progressing the use of this innovative technology in our photography rooms and storage facilities.

In addition to these service adaptations, we are also pleased to share our latest guide to assist current and future clients in choosing the right partner for fine art storage and logistics. It’s an eight-point list by which we set our own high standards and hope it can make your partner search much simpler in a rapidly changing world. Whether you need an alternative location for exhibition works, are undergoing a renovation or storing artwork that, pre-Covid, would have be shown at auction, we are proud to be able to offer a range of customized and flexible solutions. If you would like further advice or information, please email us at  

The enduring appeal of museums and galleries

While digital solutions have been extremely important in a physically-distanced world, it is also important that we do not forget the transformative experience of standing in a museum or art gallery, and viewing works away from a screen. Art has a fundamental role to play in both educating and entertaining audiences from pre-school to adulthood. It teaches viewers their history and helps them understand their place in the world. School fieldtrips to these cultural institutions can bring a lesson, topic or artist to life. While a certain amount of this can be gleaned by books or virtual exhibitions, it cannot replace the joy of standing in front of a piece of art, sharing the experience with other people. I look forward to a time when these simple acts, previously taken for granted, can resume.

As the pandemic continues, it’s difficult to predict the trajectory of the art market over the course of the next year. However, I feel confident and optimistic that Crown Fine Art, together with our clients, will continue collaborating and innovating to make art accessible across the globe once more.

Fred Weijgertse, Global Vice President of Crown Fine Art


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