Why the Modern Artworld Needs Independent Condition Reporting: a Speech to Delegates in Shenzhen, China

Top Quote SGS art expert, Yan Walther, addressed attendees at the opening of the Artron Art Center, Shenzhen, on May 11, 2017. He explained why correct documentation, due diligence and condition reporting are so important to the modern art market. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 10, 2017 - Yan Walther, SGS’s art expert, spoke to attendees at the opening of China’s biggest cultural fair – the ICIF. Taking place at the Artron Art Center in Shenzhen, China, on May 11, 2017, Mr Walther focused on the importance of correct documentation, due diligence and condition monitoring in the modern art world.

    His speech, entitled “Best practices in art due diligence and condition monitoring during logistical operations and financial transactions”, looked at the ways in which collectors, museums and financial institutions can best protect their art investments.

    The global art market has seen tremendous growth in recent years and is now estimated to be worth $56.8 billion. London and New York, the traditional centers of activity in the world, are joined by China, with 34% of the auction market in 2016. At the same time, online sales now account for about 9% of art sales.

    The same period has also seen substantial growth in the number of museums, especially in China, which saw a 60% growth in museums between 2009 and 2014. Simultaneously, this has led to an increase in national and international exhibition loans. Art has become a truly global market for collectors and investors.

    Expansion in the market and the increase in logistical activity reinforces the need for stakeholders to observe best practice in order to protect their investment. With more artworks being transported around the globe comes greater opportunities for theft and damage. Greater financial rewards, mean more forgeries are being offered onto the market. At the same time, the unusual materials utilized in Contemporary Art can make transportation and storage difficult. In extreme cases, the materials used may even react against each other if they are stored incorrectly.

    Professionalism and a reliance on modern scientific practices must now be a part of every stakeholder’s best practice when it comes to buying, selling and moving works of art. Before a buyer makes a purchase, they must be assured of the artwork’s authenticity, condition and value. SGS has developed several key services covering all these factors, to help buyers assess a piece of work before sale. This can even include reporting on the materials used – vital if the artwork contains proscribed materials making re-sale virtually impossible.

    Transportation of works of art is another area where due diligence must be promoted. While no one can stop an accident, independent verification of the condition of the artwork before and after the logistical operation will help to protect the owner of the painting from depreciation due to invisible or unreported damage.

    Mr. Walther’s presentation finished with an appeal to his audience to make sure their art works are correctly documented and their conditions accurately and independently reported. This will help protect investments during logistical procedures and, if the unthinkable happens and an artwork is damaged or lost, it will provide invaluable independent data for insurance purposes.

    SGS Art Services
    From its dedicated laboratory in Geneva Freeport, SGS is the only art service provider in its category to maintain a global presence. SGS has developed a unique system to monitor the condition of artworks globally, based on an international network of accredited art conservators, proprietary software and rigorous museum level procedures.

    For further information contact:
    Stephanie Pionchon
    Global Marketing Manager
    Telephone: +33 4 42 61 64 46
    Email: cts.media ( @ ) sgs dot com
    Website: www.sgs.com/art

    About SGS
    SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.

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