14 Aug 2007

Protect your art investment - Transportation of artworks

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

With increased mobility and multiple job opportunities people change houses and cities with ease. During shifting it is important to take good care of the artworks to ensure their investment potential is maintained. Art Consultant Umesh UV advises, “Nobody should be given the permission to handle them unless they have enough prior knowledge of dealing with paintings in particular.”

There are pros and cons in transporting a painting, which is stretched or un-stretched. A rolled up canvas is easier to transport, but removing the stretcher frame and then reframing can cause damage to the painting. Acrylic paintings are easier to transport as compared to oils. Paper works are more delicate and need careful handling. When covered with glass, one has to be extra cautious to preserve the glass front. If the glass breaks in transit, the shards can cause irreparable damage to the artwork. Umesh who deals with mainly paper works shares his modus operandi, “I send paintings unframed outside Bangalore to prevent breakage of glass and give a hard board on either side to support them against folding or wrinkling.”

He adds, “Within local limits I suggest people transport the paintings in their own vehicle with the care of family members to hold them if they are framed with glass. Outside cities they can remove the framing and get them reframed despite the fact that this might seem to be a little expensive exercise.”

In general one must ensure that the temperature remains constant during transportation. Very high as well as very low temperatures during transit can affect the paint. It can become more brittle and begin to flake.
Some more precautions include,
* Avoid touching the painted surface.
* Never apply sticky tape to the painted surface.
* Never put together paintings with their painted sides against each other.
* Keep them dry
* Large paintings need special care and packaging

It is best to consult and take the help of an expert, who has prior experience in dealing with artworks. As a precaution, it also makes sense to insure the artworks.

(Published in Financial Times)

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