EXPERT VIEW: Moving Art Across Borders For Sophisticated Collectors - Part 2

Randall Willette and Tim Sutton Fine Art Wealth Management And Constantine Limited 3 July 2014


This is the second part of a feature looking at the issues facing art investors in an increasingly international market.

This the second part of a feature about the issues of art and managing collections across borders. To see the first part of the feature, click here. The authors are Randall Willette, managing director, Fine Art Wealth Management, and Tim Sutton, managing director, Constantine Limited. To view the first part of the feature, see here.

Best practice in art logistics
Risks of damage to art from packing, shipping, storage and installation can arise not just in one country but in a number of different countries and sophisticated collectors require bespoke art logistical services tailored to their international lifestyles. Given that each collection is unique and irreplaceable, professional art handling is critical to protect from loss, damage or theft. Based on claims statistics from AIG Private Client Group over 50 per cent of the two hundred most expensive art claims paid to their private collector clients were a result of accidental damage including those incurred during transit.

Private collectors should embrace the same best practice in art logistics found in the collection management policies of major museums. The Guggenheim Foundation, for example, requires that the museum to maintain safe and appropriate facilities for the storage and transport of the collection, with proper environmental controls to maintain internationally accepted temperature and humidity standards, fire prevention, and security measures, all of which are designed to maintain professional standards for the storage of art. The Foundation’s collection management policy is there to ensure that the collection and all works of art in its custody are secure and they maintain a plan for disasters and emergencies for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and each storage facility. All Foundation security personnel must be trained in accordance with applicable professional standards to respond to threats of theft, fire, or other danger to the Collection and other works of art in the custody of the Foundation.

At the V&A Museum in London it is the responsibility of the Registrar to ensure that all safeguards have been taken to minimize risks for objects in transit between Museum sites and external organisations. All objects must be handled and moved by staff who are trained and competent to do so. Where objects are handled by non-Museum staff, the Registrar will ensure that the standard of care meets minimum agreed standards. All object movements are assessed to ensure that the correct arrangements and resources are present, so as to minimise the risk to the object and the structure of the building is checked prior to the movement of any heavy load.

All transport arrangements must be appropriate to the nature of the object, its value and fragility, and the possible risks involved in the journey. Objects are packed or protected by staff who are trained and competent to do so. Where objects are packed by non-Museum staff, the Registrar will ensure that the standard of care is equal to their own.

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