In certain circles, October has become colloquially known as ‘art month’, hosting Frieze London and Frieze Masters, PAD London, StART Art Fair and Affordable Art Fair, among many other art fairs and industry gatherings. The global diversity of the art community that gathers in London during Art Month means there is something for everyone, from Blue Chip investment pieces to limited edition prints for new collectors. But art month is over, what’s next? Is your latest acquisition sitting in gallery storage awaiting shipment, or propped up precariously on your sideboard while you decide where it should live long term?
This week, I spoke to three art experts about what to do after you’ve made that purchase, from moving your new artwork between homes and countries to hanging it and finally lighting it.
“Transporting art means carrying and caring for objects that are unique, culturally significant, financially valuable and personally important,” says Edward Guen, co-founder of art shipping company Convelio, which is responsible for developing the first instant citation fine art logistics service tool. “These can be works of passion, heirlooms, investments or gifts, but regardless of the purpose or destination of these items, all shipments require the utmost care and attention with a proper and complete knowledge of the journey each piece takes from A to B.”
Gwen and his fellow co-founder, Clement Weasel, launched Convelio in the spirit of modern e-commerce. Traditionally, moving a piece of art takes weeks of preparation and can be very slow and frustrating. With the automated pricing technology the duo has developed in-house, the process has been completely rethought, from packaging material costs to sustainability concerns, insurance options to individual reimbursement guidelines. Customers, whether they are individual collectors, interior designers or even businesses, can save time, money and resources by using Convelio’s technology to determine an offer in seconds.
However, any art supply project requires basic information to get started. “The weight, size, fragility and value of your shipment should be at the forefront of your mind,” says Gwin. “It’s also important to consider what the risk factors are for the artwork you’re moving. Consider the fragility of your shipment, temperature control or shock requirements, and choose a forwarder that can cater to that,” he says.
Once your artwork has reached its destination, it’s time to give it the home you may have envisioned for it upon first viewing. Beth Fleming, lead curator at Artiq, an art sourcing, delivery and curation agency, says: “Once you’ve started collecting art, the next important steps include protecting each piece by carefully framing it and, of course, displaying it through thoughtful methods of hanging and display.” For Fleming, it’s all about positioning your artwork for maximum impact: “Look for inspiration all around you, including galleries, museums, stately homes, cafes, hotels, workplaces and restaurants,” says she adds, “the art that sits all around us is consciously framed and displayed to draw us in and connect with the artwork in a more intimate way.”
“The most important thing is to consider the hanging height of your artwork,” says Fleming. “Art is best viewed at eye level, roughly in the middle of your piece. The approximate height from the floor will be approximately 160cm. For clusters or hanging arrangements in a lounge, make sure you have a central focal point held by the larger or more impressive pieces to form that focal point, then you can add smaller frames that will build from this eye-level viewing height.”
One of the most understudied ways to enhance your art collection at home is with artistic lighting. Rehanging your artwork to play with themes and objects or color and texture can bring new interest to any room, but your collection can become much more impactful in the space with a little thoughtful lighting. “Light is what allows us to see art, and using the right type of light is fundamental to perceiving the depth, texture, detail, vibrancy and color of a work of art,” says Andrew Molyneux, co-founder of TM Lighting, art lighting specialist behind this year’s Frieze London exhibition, as well as collections at Goodwood House, Burghley House, The Wallace Collection, Apsley House, Blenheim Palace and some of the UK’s most sought-after private homes.
Molyneux advises her clients to be careful about the kind of light they view their collections under. This approach ensures that the artwork can be viewed in the clearest possible light without glare and without damaging the artwork with excessive lighting. “We use LED lights in all of our art lighting because they contain no harmful UV or infrared light, meaning they won’t damage the color. They also enhance natural daylight for better reproduction, add sensitive levels of color temperature to lighting schemes to add atmosphere, and provide color consistency, which is critical for color uniformity under lights.”
Glare is undoubtedly one of the most common and frustrating mistakes in art lighting, so to combat this, Molyneux suggests “avoid placing glazed artwork directly against large windows” and use tactical corner lighting to to “reduce visible reflections”.