How to Package Your Artwork: A Comprehensive Guide

Art Review
16 July, 2023
How to Package Your Artwork: A Comprehensive Guide

Moving is commonly regarded as one of the most challenging life events, often comparable to other significant milestones. Actually, we can say the same about moving your artworks. It is also about how to pack your artworks correctly: when you move to another place or when you deliver your art to collectors. 

Managing Your Art Collection: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Insuring, and Safely Packaging Your Artwork

This significant milestone in life also provides an opportunity to evaluate the extent of possessions accumulated over time, including the contemplation of whether to part ways or redefine your connection with these objects.

However, when it comes to your art collection, whether you're an artist preserving your own portfolio or an art enthusiast relocating an extensive assortment, it's not as simple to let go as disposing of IKEA furniture. The process can be overwhelming.
To help you navigate this endeavor, here are valuable tips on how to effectively plan for, insure, and securely package your artwork during a move.

Organize Your Art Collection: Create an Inventory to Keep Track of Your Artwork

Ideally, you should allocate some time before your move to conduct a thorough inventory of the artworks in your collection. This becomes particularly crucial when relocating over a long distance and being separated from your possessions for an extended period. Update your JAG account with up-to-date images of each artwork, detailed notes regarding provenance, and information on framing or crating.

Furthermore, take note of which pieces are packaged together and their current location. We highly recommend creating a dedicated collection for the artworks you are moving, enabling you to generate an inventory list that will come in handy throughout the process.
For insurance purposes, it is important to document the known value of each piece and assess its current condition. In the case of museum-quality artworks, it is always advisable to have them appraised before they move.

Create collections on JAG

Standard Insurance Policies

Keep in mind that standard insurance policies typically do not cover damages or losses during the moving process. However, there are measures you can take to safeguard your belongings.

If you choose to handle the packing and moving process yourself, it is advisable to consider purchasing moving insurance that includes coverage for your art collection. Such policies are often available as part of moving insurance packages offered by your auto or home insurance provider. Alternatively, if you opt for professional movers, certain moving companies may have partnerships with third-party insurers.
To ensure comprehensive coverage, be prepared to allocate approximately 1-5% of the total value of your possessions towards moving insurance.

Gain Clarity on Your Moving Coverage

When engaging moving companies, it's important to be aware that their insurance offerings may vary. Most moving companies do not automatically provide coverage for art. Instead, artworks valued at or exceeding the moving company's designated luxury threshold (typically around $1,500, but this can vary) need to be listed as separate line items. This implies that insuring them as unique items may incur additional costs.

Under federal law in the United States, moving companies are obligated to offer customers two types of insurance when moving across state lines. The first is full-value protection, which requires the third-party mover to replace, repair, or compensate the full monetary value of any lost or damaged goods. The second is released-value protection, which typically provides compensation of around 60 cents per pound for lost or damaged items.
Choose the type of packaging

Considerations for Insuring Your Artwork During a Move

When you possess full-value protection and encounter damage to an artwork in your collection during the moving process, it is essential to provide proof of its value. This can include receipts from sales of other pieces from the same series or works of similar size, as well as auction records for artworks created by artists with public sales history. 

If you have concerns about the transportation of your fine art and wish to alleviate any anxieties, you have the option to hire a specialized art handling service. Although this comes at a higher cost, these movers often have a background in the arts and possess experience in addressing the unique considerations associated with moving and installing artworks.

Precautions for Packing Artwork During a Move

When preparing your artwork for a move, it is crucial to consider certain physical precautions. You have various options for packing your artwork, depending on your specific needs and circumstances.
If you choose to pack the artwork yourself, it is generally easiest and most cost-effective to transport unframed works on paper. These pieces can be carefully wrapped in mylar or another protective paper, grouped with similarly sized artwork, and placed into sturdy cardboard envelopes or archival boxes for a snug fit.
For framed artworks, the frames themselves should be securely wrapped in bubble wrap and packed together in boxes to ensure their structural protection.
In the case of large works on canvas or paper, an alternative space-saving method is to roll the artwork into tubes. However, note that it may be challenging to flatten the works back out after the move. It is advisable to allow yourself a couple of weeks to properly package your art, giving you enough time to acquire additional supplies if necessary once you begin the packing process.

Choose framed or unframed artwork

Key Considerations for Moving Your Art Collection

When moving your art collection, there are several additional factors to keep in mind:
  • If you prefer not to unframe your framed artworks or need to transport stretched canvases, the packing process will be more complex, particularly if the frames contain glass. In such cases, it may be necessary to create these artworks, ensuring their protection during transit.
  • For delicate three-dimensional artworks, it is advisable to collaborate with a professional art handler who can create custom crates with foam padding to securely hold your pieces in place during the move. If you have hired a moving company, it is important to allow their packers to handle the packaging of your art to ensure that your full value protection insurance will be honored. Self-packaging may result in insurance coverage being invalidated in the event of damage.
Given the multitude of options available when moving your art collection, it is recommended to allocate sufficient time and spend a couple of weeks researching companies that provide services in your area. With adequate preparation, you can ensure the best possible outcome for your art collection during the moving process.

Look how they pack artworks at Jose Art Gallery:

Ensure Peace of Mind During Your Artwork Move: Essential Steps to Take

To gain peace of mind while moving your artwork, consider the following steps:
  1. Maintain and track insurance documentation: It is crucial to have proper insurance coverage for your valuable art during the move. 
  2. Utilize reporting options for condition reports: Before and after the move, take advantage of reporting features to create and store detailed condition reports for each artwork. These reports capture the artwork's condition, including any existing flaws or damage. By having these reports readily available, you can easily compare the condition before and after the move, ensuring that any new damage is properly addressed and accounted for.
  3. Access digital copies of your documents: JAG serves as a secure, cloud-based platform that provides a digital backup of your collection information. In the event of any loss or damage to physical documentation during the move, you can have peace of mind knowing that your collection records are safely stored online, easily accessible and protected from unforeseen circumstances.
Don't forget also to manage your artworks correctly:

manage artworks
Manage your artworks

By following these steps and leveraging the features offered by JAG, you can confidently navigate your artwork move, knowing that you have taken proactive measures to protect your collection and mitigate potential risks. 💡 It can be interesting for you: What kind of digital art sells best? 
#JoseArtGallery #JAG #artforsale  
Author Bogdana Nosenok
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