Art Shipping Companies in NYC: How and When It All Started

Art Shipping Companies in NYC How and When It All Started

Although there were no art shipping companies in NYC in the usual sense before the second half of the 20th century, the practice of transporting art was widespread before that. The exhibits had to get to the first museums and art collectors somehow.

Art Shipping Companies in NYC Before the 20th Century

Take, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was founded on April 13, 1870, and acquired its first work of art that same year. The exhibit was an ancient Roman sarcophagus depicting Eros and Psyche. It originated from the city of Tarsus in Turkey and was gifted by J. Abdo Debbas, the American vice consul of the province. It was then shipped to New York in a special art shipping crate by sea. The crate was so heavy that it took sixteen buffaloes to drag it to the ship.

Fine Art Shipping Companies After World War II

However, shipping by sea is not as safe as valuable pieces of art require. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity are some of the main causes of damage to works of art. Transportation by air is definitely more reliable, but it only became possible after World War II.

The development of airplanes during the war made regular overseas flights possible. The most fascinating fact here is that former military pilots found their new jobs in the industry of transcontinental flights, including the transportation of art.

The archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art preserve not only the seemingly boring documentation of corporate records and official correspondence but also documents related to the sculpture and painting delivery. The bill of lading or a packing list can now tell the researcher the full story of a work of art’s journey within and beyond New York.

Art Shipping Companies in NYC Today

Today, there is a wide range of fine art shipping companies in NYC. The Metropolitan Museum of Art no longer has to think about renting sixteen buffalos or hiring a former military pilot. Museums and galleries now hire reliable art logistics companies because they know that their treasures will be in safe hands of trained art handlers who know how to ensure that everything arrives at the destination safely.