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Expert Tips on Shipping Old Master Paintings Safely

Old Master paintings enjoy evergreen popularity and beat all records in sales by grossing unbelievable revenues for their owners, as is proven by Old Master auctions held by Sotheby’s and other auction houses. However, if you are a NY-based avid fan of Old Master art and have just bought a new precious item at the London auction, can you just put it into a tube and take it with you on a plane? Definitely, not! Old Master works are old and fragile, so their shipment requires special care and consideration of numerous peculiarities of the process to avoid damage of such exquisite art heritage.

Old Master Paintings

Why Are Old Master Paintings So Demanded?    

‘Old Master paintings’ is a collective term used to denote the artworks created before the start of the 18th century. Thus, if a certain painting dates back the period from 1450 to 1700 and was painted by one of representatives of Renaissance, Venetian or Sienese schools, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Vedutism, Neoclassicism, or Romanticism, then it’s an Old Master painting for sure. The term relates to European artists only. The most renowned of them include Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, etc.

What Special Treatment Do They Require?   

As their name suggests, the paintings of Old Masters are really old. Some of them are over five centuries old, which suggests that they are very fragile and require exceptionally gentle treatment for the sake of ensuring their intactness. The first thing to take care of when preparing the painting for shipment is prevention of direct contact with the painting’s surface. Some tips to ensure this include:

  • Covering the unframed work’s surface with glassine paper
  • Ensuring the protection of the framed work’s glass covering
  • Protecting its corners from damage
  • Wrapping the painting in bubble wrap for minimizing friction (but only for short-term shipments with minimal risks of heating since bubble wrap, once heated, emits a sticky substance that may damage the painting irreparably).

Additional precautions to take care of include (especially for long-distance shipments):

  • Proper protection from mold for oil paintings on linen canvas (in case they are stored in cold, damp warehouses or are shipped in overheated containers)
  • Pack your precious painting into a certified heat-treated wood crate (such material guarantees that the wood won’t be affected by wood-boring pests)
  • Choose a shipping company that renders land shipping services in climate-controlled trucks to avoid temperature fluctuations.

As you can see, shipping an Old Master painting is a serious, risky affair, so it’s always better to turn to qualified, reliable companies. One of them is Fine Art Shippers – a company with over 20 years of experience in shipping and restoration services able to handle Old Master paintings quickly, affordably, and completely risk-free.

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