archival care

Art Conservation

National Portrait Gallery, London

National Portrait Gallery, London

While we absolutely hate to see it, damaged artwork it is a reality that we encounter from time to time. Whether it is a torn painting, a broken frame, or a dusty dirty textile, artwork can be greatly susceptible to damage if not properly protected, stored or shipped (check out our recommendations for treating your objects with care here). Luckily, we have relationships with top level art conservators that help our clients navigate these situations. 

What is the purpose of art conservation?

Art and object conservation refers to the scientific practice and profession of preserving artwork and artifacts from deterioration and repairing damage that has occurred. The primary aim of art conservation is to stabilize the work from further damage while retaining the maximum amount of original material, and secondary is to improve the appearance of the work of art. Art conservators use precise techniques to clean, repair, reassemble and at times restore works of art that have been damaged from time, environment stresses or accidents. Conservators also employ techniques for preventative conservation and scientific technology such as x-ray imaging to study artwork. 

What is the difference between conservation, restoration and preservation? 

The Art Conservator's Alliance explains these terms in detail:

"Art conservation includes principles and practices of technical examination, documentation, and treatment for objects of material culture. The intention of art conservation is to improve the condition of an artifact by stabilizing physical condition problems and addressing surface disfigurement arising from deterioration and/or damage. In doing so, the art conservator strives to retain as much original material as possible and to employ the best quality materials and the most carefully considered methods available."

"At times a conservation treatment also requires restoration, which is defined as the preparation and incorporation of replacement parts and surface finishes (i.e. 'compensation for losses') to allow proper visual interpretation of an art object and to recapture an acceptable esthetic appearance..."

"Another often-used term is preservation, which encompasses all of the varied activities involved in preventing damage and reducing the rate of deterioration for art objects, collections, and structures."

http://www.artconservatorsalliance.com/what_is.html

Want to learn more?

Here is a great link to a glossary of conservation terms compiled by the Smithsonian Institute:  https://www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/painting_glossary.html

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Fine Art Storage

Art Storage

When to Store Artwork

Corporate entities are constantly changing – whether a company is growing or downsizing, their art collection often needs to be taken off-site while these changes are put in place. With many newly renovated offices, there is a culture shift towards openness and collaboration; this manifests in design features like glass walls, interactive write-on walls, and open floor plans with fewer traditional artwork locations. While these adjustments are implemented, storing artwork gives our clients flexibility to install on their schedule.

During construction and relocations, we assist our clients with short and long-term storage options for collections. We manage the process from concept to completion and coordinate artwork removal with building management and the construction team. From there we transport the artwork to a secure storage facility, designed specifically to protect artwork.

Preserving Artwork

We store artwork in state-of-the-art facilities across the country. Protective measures are taken to preserve the artwork, including climate control options to provide the ideal temperature, humidity, and circulation needed for optium archival conditions.

Artwork remains safely packed in it’s storage area. Custom crates, armatures, and shelves can be built to accommodate the specific needs of a sculpture, painting, or artifact. Archival materials are used to protect against acidity and infestations.

Best Practices for Organization

Storage facilities are expansive, and great care is taken to ensure each artwork is accounted for. We use digital databases to maintain an inventory system that tracks details for each item in storage. This can include barcodes indicating the precise location in the storage area, contact information for the project manager, images, and condition reports.

Condition reports

These reports are a key part of art consulting and managing an art collection. When artwork first arrives at the storage location, a condition report is written as part of the initial inventory process. The reports make note of scratches, color inconsistencies, paint cracking, warped canvases, and other noticeable imperfections in an artwork or frame. Images are taken of the noted nuances when the condition report is prepared and are included in the inventory.

When artwork is ready to leave storage, a second condition report is generated. This report should review the original notes, and indicate the current status of the artwork. These updated reports are especially important if an artwork is being removed for conservation or reframing. Additional photos may be taken and added to the artwork’s inventory record.

Diligently employing these best practices when storing artwork leads to reliable records and an efficient system that keeps a collection safe. Using a professional fine art storage facility protects our clients’ investment in their art collection and makes it easy to manage their assets during office construction, renovation, or relocation.  

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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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The Value of Archival Framing

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When approaching framing for a client, there are two main goals to consider: framing simply for ease of display or framing to protect an investment made in a work of art. As fine art consultants, we primarily focus on custom frames to protect the integrity of our client's art collections and maintain archival standards, ensuring long-term stability of the artwork.

Many factors contribute to the quality of a frame that we would recommend. Since DeGroot Fine Art is based in Chicago, we partner with local framers at the top of their field who work for elite organizations and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

The framing process includes multiple custom components, including the profile, mat, glazing, and seal. For wood frames, each profile is custom built with hand-cut wood that can be stained to match existing design and furniture in a client's work space. We also collaborate with metal fabricators to create polished stainless steel frames when preferred. Once the frame is complete, they hand-cut mats to best support the artwork, using archival materials to ensure the long-term stability of the artwork. Next a museum-grade acrylic is selected and fitted to filter UV rays (notorious for fading pigments) while minimizing glare. Finally, the framer seals the back of the frame, protecting the interior space and artwork from dust and other contaminants. The framer's craftsmanship is consistent and meticulous through every step of their process.

"A framer's work can be just as much an art as the work of the artist themselves" says Dana McMahan for Apartment Therapy. Her recent article about the expenses of framing was insightful and added context to this topic; we recommend checking it out to learn more about the nuances involved in framing fine art.  

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