“It has happened to most of us. You pack books into a box, lift the box and all of a sudden the books break through the bottom, leaving them scattered on the floor. In most cases no harm is done, you simply gather the books and re-pack them into a more sturdy box. But imagine instead of books, these would have been your most valuable and fragile possessions?”
Collectors surround themselves with valuable, rare and collectible items. While damage is not foreseeable, a lot can be done to protect a collection or individual objects through common sense procedures.
During Art Basel 2009, a broken wooden box will hang from the ceiling of the AXA Art Lounge with samples of damaged art objects strewn immediately underneath. The visual will serve as a back-drop for the company’s “Thrill of Protecting” presentation. On display will be examples from damages caused by common accidents to those caused by the most unexpected circumstances: a rare 15th/early 16th Century Cinnabar Lacquer Dish from the Ming Dynasty that was knocked down by a housekeeper’s elbow; De Chirico’s “Piazza d’Italia”, destroyed by an out of control demolition wrecking ball that pierced through the wall of an adjacent sitting room, and through the centre of the painting.
In commenting on the goals of “The Thrill of Protecting” presentation at Art Basel this year, AXA Art’s Chairman, Dr. Ulrich Guntram said, “The care and protection of objects of art are integral to managing a collection. As stewards of valuable artifacts, collectors want to stay informed of the options available in protecting and maintaining their prized possessions in optimum condition. AXA Art is pleased to bring awareness to the importance of protecting representations of our cultural heritage and to offer tangible risk prevention services”.
With more than 40 years experience as a fine art insurance specialist, AXA Art’s business models calls for assisting clients in all aspects of collection management. The company’s in-house fine art experts and underwriters are uniquely attuned to the vulnerabilities of objects in each category of collecting. They work in tandem with a global network of international art industry experts, allowing for access to expertise on restoration, loss prevention, security, fire protection, market valuation and disaster recovery.
"But no matter how well protected a collection is, there is always the freak accident or unforeseen event”, commented, AXA Art’s Managing Director, Stefan Horsthemke. “Accidents do happen and when they occur, it is of the uttermost importance that clients have a responsive and knowledgeable insurance partner to manage an efficient claims process, from evaluating the damage to organizing recovery, restoration and compensation”.
Several factors including improper handling, temperature and humidity extremes, acidic micro dust and smog, are among those which can negatively impact the quality and well-being of art objects. This year, AXA Art introduces “Optimal Conditions” at Art Basel, a guide of simple recommendations to caring for art works and collectibles. It includes topics such as temperature control, proper framing and cleaning methods.
Visitors to Art Basel 2009 are invited to the AXA Art lounge in the VIP area of the fair. On June 10th at 11:00 am., members of AXA Art senior management, the company’s in-house Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking Fine Art Experts and Marketing Communications team will be on hand to meet guests and field questions on the presentation and AXA Art’s business activities. Refreshments will be served.
As official provider of VIP guided tours of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, AXA Art’s international fine art experts from its offices around the world will available to conduct VIP Guided tours of the Art Basel fair. The tours in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Participants will be introduced to treasures, rare objects and sensations on exhibition. VIP card holders, AXA Art clients and members of the press may arrange booking for a guided tour by contacting Suzanne Kelmes at susanne.kelmes[.]t-online.de; Mobile: +49-178-676-6018.
About AXA Art Insurance
International reach, unrivalled competence and a high quality network of expert partners distinguishes AXA Art (axa-art.com), the only art insurance specialist in the world, from its generalist property insurance competitors. Over the past 40 years and well into the future, AXA Art has and will continue to redefine the manner in which it serves and services its museum, gallery, collector and artist clients, across Asia, America and Europe, with a sincere consideration of the way valuable objects are insured and cultural patrimony is protected.