Transporting a valuable artwork


Transporting a valuable artwork like a Guston painting is indeed a delicate and meticulous operation. Shocks and vibrations can potentially cause serious damage to the artwork, which is why special measures had to be taken to safely transport this masterpiece from Washington to London.

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam implemented several steps to minimize not only temperature fluctuations but also shocks and vibrations during the transport:

1. Professional Packaging: The painting was professionally packed by art experts familiar with the artwork. The packaging included a custom-made wooden crate and special materials designed to absorb shocks and reduce vibrations.

2. Climate Control: Maintaining proper climate control during transport is essential. This means carefully monitoring temperature and humidity to prevent damage to the painting due to expansion, contraction, or condensation. During this transport, it appears that the temperature and humidity remained constant, although there was a drop in air pressure due to air transport.

3. Sturdy Packaging: The painting was securely affixed within a specially designed wooden frame to minimize movement inside the packaging. This prevents the painting from experiencing shocks and vibrations during transportation.

4. Shock-Absorbing Materials: The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam utilized shock-absorbing materials such as foam rubber, air cushions, and special shock and vibration dampers to absorb vibrations and protect the painting.

5. Careful Handling:  The artwork must be handled with the utmost care during transport. It is transported in a specialized art transport vehicle equipped with shock and vibration-dampening technology and is handled only by well-trained professionals.

6. Tracking and Monitoring: During transport, the painting is continuously tracked with GPS and monitored using a SAVER 9x30 device from Lansmont by Sebert Trillingstechniek. This special data logger detects any shocks or vibrations in real-time, allowing measures to be taken to prevent further damage.

Transporting a valuable artwork like a Guston painting thus requires very careful planning and execution to minimize shocks and vibrations and preserve the integrity of the artwork. By collaborating with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, it ensures that the painting arrived safely and in optimal condition at its destination in London, and the results are not at all shocking!

"Painting, Smoking, Eating" (1973) is one of Philip Guston's most renowned works from his later period when he transitioned to figurative art.
The painting features a simplified, cartoon-like depiction of a hand holding a cigarette and pointing to a paintbrush and a plate of food. It is often interpreted as a self-portrait of the artist, with the hands representing the hands of the painter engaged in the act of painting, smoking, and eating simultaneously. This work, like many of Guston's late pieces, carries satirical and contemplative undertones and can be seen as a reflection on the artist's practice and the role of the artist in society.

"Painting, Smoking, Eating" serves as a prominent example of Guston's distinctive style in his later figurative period, where he frequently used everyday objects and symbols to convey complex ideas and emotions. This painting holds a significant place in his body of work and is frequently discussed in the context of his artistic development and impact on the art world.

Sebert Trillingstechniek has been the testing laboratory for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam since 2012.
If you also wish to monitor your valuable products during transportation, we are the ideal partner for you. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

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