Fine Art Shipping & Transportation

 CUSTOM CRATE FOR SHIPPING

DeGroot Fine Art consults on corporate and private art collections across the country, and we often transport artwork from galleries to framers to offices. Depending on the project we use long-distance art shuttles, local transportation, and exclusive-use trucks driven by dedicated staff. Each artwork shipment method is customized to fit our client’s timeline and artwork is packed with the utmost care and security.

Packing

Every artwork has specific considerations to best protect it during transportation. For delicate artwork like glass sculptures or works with small components, we fabricate custom crates that are designed to support and protect the most vulnerable artwork. For all packing methods, we use archival materials that protect the chemical balance of paintings, works on paper, and sculptural surfaces and are compliant with museum standards. Our white-glove treatment is designed to protect artwork at every step of the shipment, ensuring a safe and efficient delivery.

Local Transportation

If your office is moving within the same area, inclusive art handling and local transportation makes relocating your art collection a breeze. Our handlers will pack artwork securely onsite, transport your art collection to its new location, and reinstall the artwork in a timely manner. We use internal inventory systems to account for every work of art and design installation plans in advance so the move is efficient and hassle-free.

We regularly use art handlers for local shipping to and from frame shops, conservation studios, and display fabricators. Our professional fine art handlers coordinate the logistics on both ends of the delivery to ensure a convenient schedule for all parties involved. They work with galleries and private collectors as well to transport artwork wherever it’s needed.

Long Distance Fine Art Shuttles

Long distance shuttles are a great option for transporting artwork between cities, especially if the timeline is flexible. We work with a network of shuttles across the country and can have artwork picked up by professional art handlers from any corporate location. For delicate artwork and sculptures, we use air-ride trucks to ensure a smooth ride, with custom packing that will protect the artwork during shipment. Depending on archival considerations, trucks with temperature and humidity control are available as well.

Exclusive Use Transportation

When a large shipment of artwork is required, we hire professionally trained art handlers to drive exclusive-use trucks across the country. The handlers carefully wrap the individual artworks, pack them securely into the truck, and can deliver them to any destination in the continental United States. Trucks can be used for projects on a local, regional, or national nexus with flexible schedules to suit the specific conditions of a project. These shipments are dictated by the client’s schedule, and are an excellent option for time-sensitive projects.

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Using Plexiglass for Archival Artwork Care

 PLEXIGLASS VITRINE & LABEL COVERS

PLEXIGLASS VITRINE & LABEL COVERS

In art consulting, one of the most common materials we work with is plexiglass, a common type of acrylic. This transparent thermoplastic has many applications and uses, and requires specific care. When maintained correctly, plexiglass can be a long-lasting material that protects artwork from the elements.

Acrylic in Framing

When framing works on paper, plexiglass is used to protect the surface of the art. Sometimes referred to as "glazing", this plexi is available in many varieties and can be selected based on which characteristics will best fit the artwork’s needs. A common archival consideration with framing artwork is using glazing that blocks UV rays. UV rays from the sun (or even from older lighting fixtures) can damage and fade pigments in artwork, which can lower the aesthetic and financial value of a piece.

If a work on paper has an especially intricate surface texture, another option is to select a non-glare plexi. This is available with UV protection as well, and has a matte finish that makes it easier to see the details clearly.

Vitrines

Three-dimensional artwork can benefit from acrylic’s archival protection as well. Sculptures that stand on pedestals can have custom plexi boxes, also known as vitrines, built to protect them from the elements while still allowing the work to be viewed clearly from 360 degrees. Other artifacts or wall-mounted sculpture can be encased in plexi shadow boxes that mount inside of frames, which protect works displayed on a wall.

Label Covers

An important part of any artwork collection is signage that adds context to the art. We fabricate labels out of vellum, custom paper, or mylar to indicate information about artists and their work. We use thin, custom-cut acrylic is protect these labels because it is easy to read, clean, and reuse. The labels can have holes drilled to accommodate installation hardware, or fit inside aluminum sleeves depending on a collector’s design preference.

Advantages of Acrylic

We use plexiglass when designing custom frames and displays for artwork because it provides customizable archival protection. Acrylic doesn’t interact with chemicals on the surface of artwork, and when correctly implemented the artwork won’t leave a stain on it. Acrylic glazing is durable and doesn’t come with the risk of shattering like glass. To ensure long-term protection, we take certain precautions including never using products designed for glass, like Windex. We use cleaning materials designed for plexi, sprayed onto archival paper to apply it keeps the acrylic clear and minimizes scratches. Although plexiglass is easier to scratch than glass, these can be buffed out by using specific care products.

Acrylic has broad applications in protecting artwork, artifacts, and historical documents. It’s one of the easiest archival materials to maintain when cleaned and treated correctly, and is a minimal investment that can showcase items in a collection while shielding artwork from being directly touched, dust, and UV rays.

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Presenting Artwork for Acquisition

As a corporate art advisory, recommending artwork for acquisition is a significant part of our job. It’s important to communicate what makes a work of art special, and hours of research, studio visits, and gallery attendance informs what we select for a presentation.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR

When researching artwork, our goal is to find work that will add value to a client's collection and enrich the aesthetic of their space. We pay attention to the trajectory of an artist’s career, experience, and education, as well as their motivation for art-making. We want to learn the context behind a work of art, and relaying that to a client sparks a dialogue about the deeper implications of an artwork. When clients know what motivates an artist, it gets them excited about the unique story behind art in their collection. This fosters a sense of pride and interest that leads to larger, more innovative conversations and connections within their professional environment. Exposure to an artist’s creative method facilitates out-of-the box solutions to problem-solving.

We try to learn as much as we can about an artist’s technical process and surface information in our research. In a presentation, we work to translate the intricacies of a surface or media that can only be seen in person. Taking notes and pictures of surface detail, texture, and pigment value is critical to understanding the individual presence of an artwork.

HOW WE PRESENT

Presentation Example

Nothing quite replaces seeing work in person, as color and light vary widely in presentation media. When possible, we try to bring clients to galleries and studios to see artwork, but the logistics involved are unrealistic for most situations. Each presentation is tailored to the specific client and project, and the methods we employ vary widely. One approach we include is showing high-resolution digital images. Whether streamed through a large monitor or on a hand-held iPad, we source large image files from galleries to show as much surface texture as possible.

In areas of new construction, we’ll work with CAD drawings and superimpose artwork to scale; this shows the impact the art will have, as well as how it will interact with other artwork in the space. For the final stages of many acquisition projects we’ll Photoshop artwork into the room to help our clients make decisions about style, scale, and hanging approach. This is a great tool for determining display design and framing as well. 

As technology changes, we work diligently to learn new ways to help our clients understand their options for acquiring artwork and decide what will be the best fit for the continued growth of their collection.

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Custom Artwork Inventory

Inventory Example

Artwork inventory systems are a key tool for collection management. A well-constructed inventory is a resource for a wide variety of projects, including coordinating artwork relocations, calculating values for insurance, and generating documentation. We create custom-built databases for our client’s inventories to ensure we track and record every detail about their fine art assets.

Managing Artwork as an Asset

While part of an art collections’ value comes from its aesthetic impact, it’s also important to be mindful of an artwork’s financial value, especially in large collections. As a corporate art advisory, we encourage our clients to treat their artwork as an asset, and assigning each work a unique number is the starting point for building an inventory. Depending on the client’s preference, we can add barcodes or RFID chips to each object that matches their asset number. When scanned, the client can access each item’s unique catalog entry in their database.

Inventory systems also help with curatorial projects. It’s easy to generate a report based on artwork dimensions and style details, helping us quickly assess what artwork would be the best fit for a new or renovated space. Each entry includes documentation images, and can be classified by media, art historical movement, and frame style to efficiently determine which group of artwork will create a meaningful addition to a space.

Insurance Considerations

An important component of managing fine art assets includes maintaining records of each work’s provenance. While provenance is necessary to determine an artwork’s authenticity, the primary reason we are diligent about including it is to understand the financial history of the art. Knowing the source, price, and time period in which each artwork was purchased helps appraisers determine the work’s current value. Appraisal data is also included in the database, along with reports that calculate the total current value of the collection, and how the value has changed. We recommend updating appraisals every couple of years in order to maintain the correct amount insurance coverage; this often saves clients money, as most entities tend to overestimate and overpay for the insurance they require.

KEEPING TRACK OF ARTWORK LOCATIONS

Another advantage to maintaining an accurate database is its reliability for tracking artwork movements. In Chicago, there are dozens of new high-rises being constructed for commercial leases, and we use database reports to verify every artwork is accounted for during a relocation. Temporary movements can be included as well, such as transportation to be reframed or conserved. We note the dates of each movement, the staff members who assisted, and confirm their installation location when they return. Artwork in storage is accounted for as well, with notations about the climate-control specifications and how the artwork is packed or crated.

Ultimately, having a custom inventory system saves our clients money. We’re able to generate reports, analyze data, and coordinate logistics quickly and efficiently when we can utilize a company’s database to access artwork information.

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Adding Artwork To Large Spaces

Lobby Installation

When consulting with larger companies, we often recommend artwork for large, public-facing spaces. Commercial lobbies are a great opportunity to use artwork to complement a building's architecture while projecting a company's taste and visual style. The right sculpture or painting can have a huge impact on visitors, providing a very striking welcome.

Lobbies are designed to impress, and often the walls and floors are covered with marble, wood paneling, or other built-in design features. In some instances we will advise on site-specific artwork installations, and maintaining the integrity of these features is often a priority. Part of our role includes implementing non-permanent installation methods to protect the space while allowing flexibility to change the artwork in future. 

TRACK HANGING SYSTEMS

Cable Options

Large-scale artwork installations are often a part of a remodel or renovation, in which case we work with the project's architects and designers to strategize the best art display method for each particular project. One option we consistently recommend is a track hanging system. These systems are very versatile, with versions that are secure and compatible with the needs of most structures and artworks.

Depending on the specifications of the track, paintings, sculptures, and textiles can be displayed safely, elevating the design of a space without compromising design finishes. This gives clients the option to alternate the artwork from their collection on display, or even sponsor a rotating artwork program. This opportunity to refresh let's clients showcase their connection to visual culture, and elevate their brand.

collaborating during construction

Lighting Artwork

To select the proper track hanging option, we'll consult with the building's engineers to determine which areas are best suited to load-bearing. Certain tracks connect to the ceiling, and others to the wall. Selecting the right option during construction allows mindful selections that blend in with the space, and don't distract from the artwork. The track colors and lengths are customized, and we recommend the most subtle option. A thoughtfully selected tracking system should be minimal and camouflaged by the design of the lobby. Depending on the type of track, cables compatible with the type of track are purchased as well as hooks that hold the artwork. These have locking features to ensure the security of the artwork on display. 

Once the placement of the track is finalized, we collaborate with lighting consultants to strategize the best option for illuminating the artwork. The best lighting is unnoticeable, and requires expertise on color temperature, combining directable with wall-wash lights, and selecting bulbs with the proper specifications to prevent pigments from fading.

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