How to Protect Your Art Investment

When purchasing art, consider the following related to your purchase. Make sure that you receive a full and detailed receipt, documenting each artwork purchased. Take care to protect your artwork from damage while transporting it to your home or office. What are your plans for the artwork and where will it hang? Is the artwork automatically covered by your insurance or do you need to contact your insurance company? What are your responsibilities as an art owner? This page provides you with information and tips that will help protect your art investment.

Documentation from the Gallery

  • Bill of Sale
    You should always receive one, and keep a copy with the artwork.
  • Letter of Authenticity
    Be sure that you receive one, especially if the piece is part of a limited edition.
  • Artist Resume and Biographical Information
    Always maintain current updated information about the artists whose work your have purchased.
  • Artist Statement
    If practicable, attach artist information - such as contact info and and artist statement on the back of the artwork.
  • Type of artwork
    Even though it may seem obvious, ascertain whether the work is and original, limited edition, or reproduction and ensure that its status is reflected accurately in the Letter of Authenticity.
  • Special Care and Handling Instructions
    Learn - preferably from the artist or gallery how to protect and care for your artwork.
  • Meet The Artist
    Openings are a good place to meet the artist. It is always fun and rewarding to establish a personal connection with the artist. You might also take the artist to dinner or drinks, or invite them to your home to see their work on your walls.
  • Gallery and Artist Mailing Lists
    These are easy ways to follow artists' careers.


Transporting Artworks Home

  • Car / Van / Truck
    Make sure you have a vehicle large enough to get the artwork home.
  • Supplies Needed
    Cardboard, blankets, and bubble wrap can be used to protect the artwork. Don't forget packing tape to secure the bubble wrap around the object, and ensure that the tape only touches the bubble wrap; not the artwork.
  • Transportation Insurance
    Do you have insurance while the artwork is being transported home?


Shipping Artwork

  • Gallery Advice and Recommendations
    The gallery is the best source for recommendations about shipping choices.
  • Art Transportation Companies
    You will find this type of art service in large cities.
  • Crating and Packaging Services
    Make sure the services are experienced in correctly packaging and protecting artworks for shipping.
    Always ask the gallery if it has a service it routinely uses, as this would be the best bet.
  • Federal Express and Other Carriers
    Be safe and go with a trusted carrier like Federal Express.



  • Archival Framing
    Make sure your artwork is framed and protected with archival framing.
  • Glass or Plexiglass?
    Glass breaks, but it's easier to clean and take care of.
    If the artwork is expensive; however go with the added safety and protection of Plexiglass.


Hanging or Storage

  • Where to Safely Hang Artworks
    Never hang expensive art over a fireplace.
    Always protect artwork from heat and direct sunlight.
  • How to Hang
    Use the appropriate type of art hanging device. Go with a professional service when the artwork is expensive.
  • Type of Hangers Heeded
    There are special types of picture hangers for artworks; the gallery should be able to give you information about the best type. Professional framing stores and shops sell hanging devices.
  • Professional Installation Services
    These are usually available in large cities; galleries can give you a referral.
  • Storage Options
    If your walls are already covered with artworks, you may need to store the artwork you've just purchased - at least temporarily.
    Be careful with wet basements, and always keep artworks three inches off of the floor.
    Ensure that the temperature and humidity of the storage area is stable year-round.


Artwork Documentation

  • Artwork Details
    Document your artwork fully: include size, current condition, type of artwork.
    Also, makes notes about any identifying numbers or markings on the artwork and make sure you know the correct title and date of the artwork. How was it framed when it came to you originally; and what is the prominent subject matter of the art?
  • Photographs of Artwork
    Digital cameras work well; make sure to photograph from different angles.
  • Artwork Information and Records
    Keep in a safe place that is also in a separate building from the artwork itself (in case of fire). A safe deposit box is a good option.
    Documentation to protect includes the bill of sale, artist statements, appraisals, articles about the artist, etc.  All should be kept together in a safe place.
  • Books about the Artist
    Purchase copies of all publications related to the artist, as some may go our of print, be printed in limited runs to begin with, or otherwise later be very difficult or impossible to obtain.


Insurance Needs

  • Types of Insurance Coverage Available
    Ask you insurance agent or the gallery you are purchasing from.
  • Homeowners vs Other Types of Coverage
    Homeowners policies frequently cover art but check with your broker, you might have to list your artwork as a separate item.
  • Current Insurance Information
    Keep you insurance company updated with current artwork value.
    This should be done yearly or whenever the value of the artwork changes.
  • What Insurance Companies Pay?
    Are you protected from damage or loss due to an earthquake and water damage?
  • Partial or Total Loss.
    Will you be covered for the full value of the artwork or only a partial value?

    We'll be adding additional insurance information in the near future.


Keep in Touch with the Artist

  • Loan Artwork to the Artist
    Someday the artist might want to borrow your artwork for a major retrospective.
  • What Galleries Represent the Artist
    Know the names of other galleries selling and representing the artists works.
  • Artist Mailing List
    Contact the artist and ask to be added to their mailing and email list.
  • Artist News and Articles
    Learn how to use "Google News Alerts" for information about the artist.


When You're on Vacation

  • Artwork Storage
    You might consider placing the artwork in storage if you're away for long period of time.
  • Cover the Artwork
    Ultraviolet light is one of artworks biggest enemies, covering it helps keep it from fading.


Artwork Appraisals

  • Professional Appraisals
    You will need one when selling or donating the work to a museum.
    Where to find Professional Art Appraisers
  • Finding price information online
    The Internet will direct you to artist information, search for the artist name on Google or Bing.
    Look for the artists website, next check for galleries representing the artist.
  • Auction Price Results
    There are several companies that provide major auction results.
    One of the largest online price resources is:


Other Information on Collecting Art

Art Collecting Tips
Collecting art for love and profit is one of life's great pleasures.
Where do you start? When should you buy? Here're ten tips to help you get you
started collecting fine art.

Buying Fine Art Online
A fast growing option for anyone interested in purchasing art.

Protecting New Art Purchases
Learn how to protect your artwork and your art investment.

Internet Art Collecting Resources
Also, be sure to explore around our site for art resources, and our online gallery guides.

Art Bookstore
Our bookstore will introduce you to the latest art books.
Please click this link and visit our Art Bookstore.

Seven Days in the Art World     On Collecting     Art for Sale, book cover     The Art of Collecting

Amazon's Book of the Month Site for reading and gift suggestions.

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Artwork by America Martin, In the Woods, available from JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA

America Martin
Available from
JoAnne Artman Gallery
Laguna Beach, CA


Artwork by David Shapiro on exhibition at Leslie Sacks Contemporary in Santa Monica, CA, January 10 - Feb 28, 2015

David Shapiro
Available from
Leslie Sacks Contemporary
Santa Monica, CA


David Schwartz glass available from Foster/White Gallery in Seattle

David Schwartz
Available from
Foster/White Gallery


Photograph by Sebastiao Salgodo available from Peter Fetterman Gallery in Bergamot Station, Santa Monica

Sebastiao Salgodo
Available from
Peter Fetterman Gallery
Santa Monica


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