Fine Art Crating and Shipping Requires Extraordinary Care and Preparation to Ensure Safe Transport
According to a 2012 article published in Forbes Magazine, experts in the fine art insurance field estimate that the total appraised value of insured artworks around the world is between $500 million and $1 billion. Taking proper care in shipping and transporting of art is essential to protect their financial and cultural value.
Not every piece of fine art may be as valuable as a Monet or Rodin, but to shippers and recipients of all works of art, their shipment deserves the same care and protection given to shipments of fine art created by the great masters throughout antiquity.
Because fine art can be delicate, valuable and often of unusual size and dimensions, commercial shipping firms such as UPS, FedEx, and others will not be able to provide the level of specialized crating and shipping services required to ensure safe travel of your artwork.
A number of protection considerations and techniques come into play when preparing fine art for shipment:
Protection Against Damage During Handling, Packing and Shipment
Fine art should be protected from damage during handling and packing. Protection is afforded by wrapping fine art in appropriate protective materials and then securing it to a rigid backing board or similar structure that restrains the object in all directions.
Paintings and prints are particularly vulnerable to abrasion. The friction between the painting and the shipping container will likely damage the painting surface. Wrapping paintings with acid free, interleaf materials followed by polyethylene will minimize risk of abrasion damage.
Materials such as acid free tissue, polyethylene foam and stretch wrap, polyester quilt batting, open cell polyurethane ester foam and bubble pack may also be used as appropriate for wrapping and protecting fine art.
Further protection will be afforded by securing top heavy or unusually shaped fine art to a stable base or cradle, and providing secondary blocking or bracing for artwork having appendages or features made of glass or other materials particularly vulnerable to mechanical shock.
Protection Against Moisture
Water damage can be one of the most serious threats to paintings. Moisture can cause color changes in oil paintings and can remove delicate hues in watercolors. The finish of wooden items can become damaged by leaking water, and the wood itself may become warped due to prolonged exposure to moist or humid conditions. The finish and patina of various metals and other art materials may also be damaged by moisture. Using moisture barrier bagging can provide a critical first layer of protection for fine art.
Protection from Impact and Vibration
The final defense against mechanical impact and vibration damage is a robustly built crate. It also provides a barrier from environmental factors. Depending on factors including required mechanical strength, shipping method, final location, i.e. domestic vs. international, construction material options may be wood, particleboard, or waferboard.
If extreme protection is required, a crate nested inside a larger crate may be needed. Handles and skids should be provided to facilitate ease of handling and reduce risk of damage during transfer. Recessed screw or latch closures will be less vulnerable to breaking off in transit, and will provide reliable, positive closure of crates.
Protection from Financial Loss Due to Theft or Damage
Maintaining adequate insurance on fine art is essential to safeguard owners and organizations against financial loss due to theft or damage while in transit. Shipping insurance premiums are based on the appraised value of the pieces and the assessed risk of the shipping company; as a result, art dealers, owners and museums should consider the reputation of the shipper before reaching an agreement for transportation of valuable works of art.
Select a Qualified Fine Art Crating and Shipping Service
To many art collectors and aficionados, crating and shipment by common freight carriers is not an option due to the value and fragility of their fine art items. Preparation, crating and shipping of fine art requires expert knowledge, outstanding workmanship and great care.
Craters & Freighters Greater Milwaukee can help. We offer specialized fine art crating and shipping services, including insurance to individuals, art dealers and museums. Specifying Craters & Freighters Greater Milwaukee for your fine art shipping services will ensure future generations enjoy your valued works of art for years to come.
Call or contact us today to learn more of how we can help you with your fine art crating and shipping requirements.