The connection between art and yachting

Written by Sophie Spikenell

Art is often seen as a basic necessity for human enrichment with immeasurable personal and social benefits. Although not a basic necessity, owning a superyacht holds the same values ​​of personal and social enrichment. From the first images to the finished product, the design process takes the owner on a journey to select the right materials for their “masterpiece”. For others, their enrichment comes from displaying elusive and complex artwork on board. Photo: Lebedka DesignBuilt-in art gallery

There is a clear connection between yacht owners and art, with many owners often being avid art collectors and others creating custom superyachts that are works of art in their own right. Just like their property, the parts they have on board are often hidden from the public eye, creating an unknown oasis of treasures. The result is a personal and unique gallery for the owner to browse at his leisure. Go to a yacht salonPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Artelier, Turquoise Yachts, Guillaume PlissonInternational art consultants, Artelier specialize in curating artwork for luxury yachts and work with both designers and owners to source art from the world’s leading artists. They have a database of over 12,000 international artists that they use to commission orders instead of going through dealers and galleries. “Art aboard yachts often have very specific needs – such as moisture resistance, fitting into alcoves or curved walls and the ability to securely anchor. Custom artwork can meet these requirements and make any artistic vision possible,” said Artelier.

Read: ‘She’s a work of art’: Gary Ball, owner of Snowbird Plvs Vltra Yacht SalonPhoto: Artelier, Winch MediaThis means they are able to deliver a huge variety of yachting mediums and styles, from paintings and prints to ceramic and bronze sculptures, as well as ambitious projects such as site-specific glass walls, murals and installations. “The customer for Plvs Vltra, wanted to incorporate their love of impressionism through contemporary paintings throughout the yacht. In our selection and curation, we always try to capture a sense of the yacht’s context – making a connection with life at sea.”

Video: A first look on board the 74m Amels Plvs Vltra

Plvs Vltra Yacht SalonPhoto: Artelier, Winch MediaBut storing art on board is not always as simple as it sounds, as yachts are full of movement, both from the sea and from the people on board! Artelier uses specialized marine fasteners to help secure them, as well as niches and plinths. “Location is also a key consideration, as artwork must be positioned strategically to minimize impact and damage. Choosing where to place an artwork is also fundamental because of UV exposure; yachts have an abundance of strong natural light, and UV is one of the most damaging effects on artwork.Plvs Vltra yacht cabinPhoto: Artelier, Winch MediaYachts are, after all, places of relaxation and contemplation, so viewing them as floating art galleries is not that difficult. However, Artelier does not recommend that highly collectible artwork be stored on board; “the risk of damage is much greater and there are additional complications for insurance as well as taxation when these parts are exported across national borders.”Adix Yacht Cruise in Portsmouth Photo: Gerry LynchIn 2020, Spanish billionaire Jaime Botin was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined €52.4 million for “smuggling of cultural property” by removing Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Young Woman from national territory without permission. According to Artnet, “Any work of art older than 100 years is considered a national treasure and requires an export permit.” Botin applied for an export permit but was denied. Court reports then say he tried to evade that law and smuggled the painting out of Spain aboard the 67-metre three-masted schooner, Addicks.Azimut S6 yacht in Times Square in New York in 2019Photo: Azimut YachtsYachts in the world of art and design

Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of shipyards choosing to participate in art-related events. Moving into these areas allowed them to expand their client base and make a deeper connection between yachting and the art world. Azimut S6 yacht in Times Square in New York in 2019Photo: Azimut YachtsIn 2019, the Azimut|Benetti Group placed the 18-meter yacht Azimut S6 in the center of New York’s Times Square to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The installation was part of the company’s innovative strategy to shed light on the DNA of the Azimut brand. “Azimuth stands for daring to surprise and – as with art – to evoke an emotional response involving the hearts and minds of those who connect with our creations,” said Azimuth.Azimut S6 yacht in Times Square in New York in 2019Photo: Azimut YachtsThe organization and production of this incredible initiative was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Design Pavilion and NYCxDESIGN, New York’s annual event celebrating design. The group said: “A 60-foot boat taken out of its natural habitat at sea and placed in an iconic city square densely populated with neon lights changes our perception of the ordinary and the possible, symbolizing the drive for innovation in design and technology that are a distinctive feature of the Group’s projects.”Sanlorenzo Biennale Arte in VenicePhoto: SanlorenzoFor the first time this year, the Italian shipbuilder Sanlorenzo is the main sponsor of the Italian pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 from April 23 to November 27 in Venice. The event gives Sanlorenzo the opportunity to address issues such as sustainability, environment, technology, nature, sea and above all humanity through art. The event highlights the two cornerstones of design and art that have made Sanlorenzo a key player in both art and the yachting industry. “We are living in a new renaissance that sees contemporary culture at the center of society as well as industry, with art increasingly seeking to effectively reflect the difficulties and contradictions of our civilization,” said Sanlorenzo President and CEO Massimo Perotti.Sanlorenzo Biennale Arte in VenicePhoto: SanlorenzoThese exciting events not only draw attention to the brand, but also to the products they produce. They shine a spotlight on these companies, highlighting their unique passion for all things art and design, attracting a new generation of prospects and customers.Sea owlArt in architecture

The more you delve into the relationship between yachts and the art world, it becomes clear that the real stars of the show are the yachts themselves. Art is described as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination,” and building a yacht certainly uses both skill and imagination. A custom yacht can very easily be described as a work of art as it has been created by various artists and craftsmen who have specifically sourced the materials to create it. Exterior of the yacht Shenandoah of SarkPhoto: Stuart Pearce“The design, development and construction processes are both technical and artistic, and with the exception of the onboard equipment, which is factory-built, all parts of the yacht are handcrafted. When designers meet artisans, art is created. Creativity then becomes a skill to make it a reality, and we consider this to be art. Everything from a hand sketch expressing the first idea, to detailed production drawings and computer-generated renderings,” said Laura Pomponi, CEO and founder of LP Luxury Projects.Poetic yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignYachts are built to emulate the passion of the owner. In today’s world of yacht design and mass production, the ones that stand out the most are yachts that are unique and individual in design. And it’s no surprise that designers and builders who put their heart and soul into designs and projects will certainly agree with this fact.

Read: Swan, canoe and super schooner: 10 radical superyacht concepts

Feadship EXPV concept exterior design “As they grow in size, yacht builders allow customers to greatly influence the design and bring their own ideas to the table. Designers create details and finishes with materials that are often designed by them as well. Therefore, the use of materials and finishes to create can also be seen as art,” added Laura Pomponi.Yacht Christina O anchored in Mallorca Photo: Charles van RooyJust a floating dream?

It has become clear in recent years that the relationship between art and yachting is not only embodied by artwork on yachts, but also by the attitude of the shipyard to make art part of its brand identity. Since the two sectors are so closely related to luxury, it is understandable how they have become so intertwined. Shipbuilders and designers continue to push the boundaries of yacht architecture, and owners continue to decorate the interior with precious works.

This article was originally published in Issue 42 of the SuperYacht Times newspaper. To read more stories like this and never miss an issue of SuperYacht Times again, subscribe here.

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