How to Protect Fine Art When Shipping

posted in: Articles

The very idea that a piece of art work you’ve invested hundreds or hundreds of thousands of dollars in probably causes shivers to go up and down your spine. But one slip, one small moving error can cause it to happen.

Following is some concrete advice on how to protect your fine art when shipping it from one location to the next.

What Does Shipping Fine Art Involve?

Shipping fine art involves not only handling it correctly, but also the packing, crating, storage and temperature control of the environment in which it will be shipped. Keep the following in mind when shipping fine art.

Packing Advice for Shipping Fine Art

According to art care experts, poor package of art pieces is the number one cause of damage during shipping. Even industry institutions like museums and art galleries, sometimes grapple with how to properly pack artworks to keep them safe during transport.

The problem with packing has less to do with packing procedures than a piece of artwork in and of itself. To explain, centuries old art like paintings can, flake, peel and chip pretty easily. More modern works made with experimental methods and materials present another set of problems.

For all of these reasons, packing is not a favorite part of any art care professional’s job. To safely ship fine art, keep the following things in mind when packing:

(i) Physical Attributes of Each Piece: This will help you determine a host of other factors like packing materials to be used and vehicle used for transport.

(ii) Distance to be Shipped: When considering distance, don’t forget to take into account multiple stops and the requirements involved in keeping a fine art piece safe while on the road (eg, packing and unpacking requirements).

(iii) Time of Year Shipped: This will help you determine any climate control needs a piece of fine art may have.

(iv) Unloading Requirements: This is important because you will need the correct equipment to properly unload the piece without harming it.

Fine Art Shipping & Packing Materials

Fine art can be very delicate. Therefore, it’s important to use the right packing material to prevent damage. For example, did you know that synthetic foam wraps emit gases which can cause damage to the surface of some paintings? Other packing materials may not allow the art to “breathe” properly.