Responsibilities as an Art Collector: Ensuring Proper Maintenance & Protection of Art Collections

Nov 3, 2023

Art collecting is a passion for many individuals who appreciate the aesthetic value of art pieces and the historical significance they hold. However, owning an art collection comes with a responsibility to maintain and protect the pieces. Collectors must understand the key considerations involved in proper maintenance and protection to ensure their collections last for years to come. In this blog article, as shared in our new ArtCollect online course, we will explore the responsibilities of an art collector including due diligence, collection care, logistics, and insurance.

Due Diligence: Understanding the Key Considerations Before Purchasing Art

Whether you are a seasoned collector or a new art enthusiast, it is essential to exercise due diligence before making any significant purchases. Art collector needs to conduct due diligence which involves researching the artist and artwork's condition and provenance, understanding its value, receiving a certificate of authenticity upon purchase, and working with a reputable seller.

  • Authentication to ensure the artwork you are buying is genuine and not a forgery. Research the artist and the artwork thoroughly before making a purchase to ensure that there are no red flags or discrepancies in the artwork's history.
  • Provenance refers to the history of ownership of the artwork. It is essential to know who has owned the artwork in the past, as well as how they obtained it. A clear, documented provenance can significantly increase the value of an artwork, while a lack of provenance may call the artwork's authenticity into question.
  • Condition when an artwork that is in poor condition may be worth significantly less than a similar piece that is in excellent condition. Inspect the artwork before buying it for any damage, such as tears, stains, or paint loss. Additionally, you should consider the artwork's age and any conservation efforts that may have been undertaken.
  • Market value and how the art market can be volatile, and prices can fluctuate significantly. It is important to understand the current market conditions, including trends and demand for specific artists or styles. You should also consider the artwork's historical significance and the rarity of the piece.

Collection Care: Maintaining an Up-to-date Inventory of your Collection

One essential aspect of maintaining a collection is keeping track of what you have, where it is, and what condition it is in. This can be achieved through a comprehensive inventory management system like the one provided by Artwork Archive. A good inventory should not only encompass the object’s identification details but also include information on its location, condition, and value.

Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of collections is fundamental to risk management purposes. An up-to-date inventory allows you to provide comprehensive information to your insurance provider in case of loss, theft or damage. Moreover, it helps to ensure that you are covering all collections adequately and avoiding any gaps in coverage. Keeping updated is crucial for the survival, sustainability, and proper management of your collection. It is an investment that requires careful and thorough planning, execution, and continuous evaluation.

Logistics: Understanding Specialized Shipping and Transit Protocols

Shipping and transit present the primary cause of loss within collections, making it crucial to engage professionals for handling delicate and fragile items. General movers may not be sufficiently trained to pack and handle art collections, antiques, or other fragile items. Art shipping requires specific logistics considerations. From packing to transit, these high-value items need exceptional care and attention, and specialized art transport companies have adopted stringent protocols to ensure artworks' safety and security across different modes of transportation. These protocols aren't just limited to packaging, but they also include handling, transportation, and installation.

It is also recommended to choose fine art storage facility centers to ensure proper storage conditions, including humidity and temperature regulation. These storage facilities include vaults and specialized art storage facilities. And remember, logistics involves the planning, implementation, and control of the movement of art pieces from one place to another. Proper logistics ensure that art is transported safely and efficiently. It is vital to work with a logistics provider that has experience in specialized art logistics and the expertise to ensure safe transit.

Collections Insurance: Mitigating the Risk of Loss of Irreplaceable Items

Art collectors need to engage the services of a broker like Private Client Select Insurance Services who specialize in fine art and collections to have a suitable and comprehensive insurance policy to protect their collection. Collectors need to protect the collection from home exposures such as water, fire, or theft. Collectors must also consider environmental factors such as location and catastrophic exposures, including wildfire zones or hurricane zones, to install impact-resistant windows and hurricane shutters.

It is crucial to receive appraisals every three to five years to determine the collection's value and avoid being under-insured. For more volatile markets, collectors may require more frequent appraisals. Appraisers should be affiliated with one of the following organizations: American Association of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers, and International Society of Appraisers, and the appraisal document should comply with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) standards.


Art collectors should work with their carriers to source appraisers, conservators, consultants, art handlers, transit companies, storage facilities, etc. The responsibilities of an art collector span from due diligence, collection care, logistics, and insurance. These tasks are crucial to ensure the safekeeping and longevity of the collection, eliminating the risk of loss or damage to irreplaceable items. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, art collectors can properly manage the risks associated with art collecting and protect their collections for years to come. Art collecting is a passion, but it is also a responsibility.

Where to Learn More

For those who are interested in building an art collection, the prospect of navigating the art world can feel overwhelming. But fear not – One Art Nation and Redwood Art Group along with BonhamsWinston Art GroupartnetArtwork Archive, Private Client Select Insurance Services and more, have created ArtCollect, the ultimate online course to help you achieve your goal. Our team of experienced experts from all areas of the art world will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to confidently and adeptly collect art. Through our comprehensive guidance, you'll be empowered to create a collection that is not only meaningful but truly enjoyable to curate. By enrolling in the ArtCollect course, you'll have the tools to become an informed and confident art collector with a remarkable collection to be proud of. Let us help you on your journey towards building the art collection of your dreams - enroll now!

ArtCollect: An Expert's Guide to Art Collecting

Charlie Manzo, Alaina Simone, Muys Snijders, Kyle McGrath, Caren Petersen, Jason Rulnick, Elysian McNiff Koglmeier, Bianca Cutait, Linda Mariano, Jack Mur