Planning and packing for art transit

November 30, 2019

It is the onset of winters giving respite from the hot and humid months of monsoon in large parts of India. The weather is pleasant and is therefore the time when art exhibitions and art fairs are held for the public to enjoy. As artwork travels for various art exhibitions, it is imperative that we protect the artworks from transit damage and it all begins with a thorough condition report. As you prepare for travel exhibitions and art fairs, travel condition report is a very important document to maintain.

A travel condition report must capture if there are any damages, cracking, discolouration, foxing marks on the artwork, fabric or lining tear, loose lining, paint flaking, unrepaired tears in the canvas especially on the edges etc. This report must be verified at the destination after transit.

Below are the major aspects that one must consider before the start of the packing:

1. Age of the artwork: It is a generally known fact that older the work, more fragile is its condition. Accordingly, the packing techniques are devised.

2. Type of artwork and material used: We can broadly classify artwork as paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, prints, collages etc. Paintings are further classified as oil, acrylic, water, tempera, etc. Paintings are also classified as canvas, paper, framed or unframed artwork, mounted on a panel or unmounted etc. We further analyse if the painting has thick strokes and thick paste of colours on the canvas. Sculptures are classified as wood, marble, granite, jade, bronze, terracotta, solid steel, lime wood etc.  Depending on the type of artwork and the material used therein, the packing techniques and the casing employed differ.

3. Transport history: It is critical to know how the artwork travelled earlier. If the artworks is of a unique form, size or dimension, then identifying and analysing previous transport history gives valuable insight to plan the packing and shipping methods. 

4. Restoration history: If we know  the artwork has undergone any restoration then the art handlers need to be extra careful while handling around the areas where the artwork has been restored.

5. Financial value: The financial value involved can help in deciding whether high end crating is required? It also is an essential information to declare for insurance and freight. High value artworks may require escort services and storage at valuable vault storage of cargo area.

6. Heritage value: One must check if the artwork holds any antique value or is it part of the national heritage. This is a very crucial aspect as the permissions have to be obtained and necessary documentations have to arranged to send such artworks out of the country.

The above assessment can act as a quick check and reference while packing and planning an artwork for transit. In case you are planning to transport your collections or are an entity planning for an art exhibition, a check as detailed as this can help reduce complexities involved in art transit. 

For more information as to how Crown Fine Art can help you in making the transportation and storage of your artworks easier, please email us at or speak to us at +91 8080 322 322.


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