“My art collection is growing with the acquisition of sculptures… How can I best protect them, indoors and out?” By Bruce Gendelman, JD, Chairman, and Joseph Gendelman, President and CEO
No matter what the category and origin of the sculpture — from table piece to large-scale, site-specific pieces for architectural, urban, or landscape settings spanning the globe — where and how it is positioned can impact the art form as dramatically as the piece itself.
“The biggest break in the history of sculpture in the 20th century was to re- move the pedestal. The historical concept of placing sculpture on a pedestal was to establish a separation from the behavioral space of the viewer. ‘Pedastalized’ sculpture invariably transfers the effect of power by subjugating the viewer to the idealized, memorialized or eulogized theme. As soon as art is forced or persuaded to serve alien values, it ceases to serve its own needs. To deprive art of its usefulness is to make other than art.”-Artist Richard Serra
Pedestal or not: If you have an outdoor sculpture, particularly in Florida, your piece will require constant care and will be vulnerable to damage from hurricane-strength winds, floods and exposure to precipitation, humidity, pollution, sunlight and temperature. We have advised clients that if a sculpture cannot be brought indoors in the summer, a hurricane-rated protective covering should be constructed for any piece with high value.
Stone, granite and marble: These materials are the most susceptible to wind damage. Hard surfaces in the immediate vicinity of these sculptures could worsen the damage at impact.
Steel, wrought-iron and mixed metal: Items constructed from iron and raw or stainless steel can some- times be repaired without significantly impacting their value, by cutting, replacing and refinishing sections. There are over 50 grades of steel, many of which are used in contemporary sculpture. When examining these items, look carefully for signs of corrosion, particularly below ground or around the base.
Bronze and cast iron: Like steel, bronze is extremely resilient. However, under hurricane conditions, air- borne objects can damage the patina, significantly diminishing both value and aesthetic appeal.
Cement and ceramics: These works are molded from wet raw material be- fore they set to form a brittle, stone-like consistency. Most cement and ceramic sculptures are mounted and stabilized.
Fiberglass, resin and plastic: Used mostly by contemporary artists, these materials are typically resilient, although lighter in weight compared to other materials. Usually lightweight, some plastic and fiberglass sculptures are extremely susceptible to climate changes.
To mitigate damage, we recommend engaging a conservator for regular inspections so that any changes in condition are immediately identified and remedied. To mitigate your potential out-of-pocket loss, we recommend discussing your specific needs with an insurance professional who can arrange for the best insurance program and expert loss control service and work with you to put an action plan in place. This approach will help you protect your most valued interests.
For more than 30 years, our sole focus has been helping individuals, families, their organizations and interests protect their wealth. As a privately owned and operated company, we provide clients with stability and sophisticated risk-management ad- vice uncompromised by the demands of a public company. Our personal approach is distinctive and backed by a thorough knowledge of the ultra high net worth insurance market. In addition, our carrier partners utilize their management teams to provide valuable advice on loss-prevention services, your exposures and mitigating claims-offering the very best experience and advice available in the world of personal insurance.
Article original appeared in Worth magazine.