Condition checking - why, when and how?

The condition of an artwork can significantly affect its value. Artworks should be protected from UV rays, temperature fluctuations and of course accidental damage. It is equally important to document the artwork’s condition prior to shipping it. Most insurance claims are made for artworks that were damaged during transport. The purpose of a condition check is to make sure you can prove that any damages occurred in transit and not when the work was still in your home.

How to do a basic condition check? Look carefully at the piece from all angles (for example if it is a painting, look at the back as well as the front). Describe any existing damages and their location on the artwork (i.e. chips on a frame or scuffs on a bronze sculpture) and write them down. The best thing is to have high resolution photographs of the artwork showing the artwork’s condition in detail. All this information will help in case you need to make an insurance claim.

Annelien Bruins is COO and Senior Art Advisor at Tang Art Advisory in New York, Miami, London and Hong Kong. The firm provides its private clients with advice on the buying, selling and managing of their collections of fine and decorative art. For more information please visit www.tangartadvisory.com. © Annelien Bruins 2014.