ICEFAT is an official, worldwide democratic organization representing 70 of the finest independent art transportation firms from 33 countries. Each member specializes in handling and shipping works of art, artifacts and antiquities for museums, galleries and dealers, corporate and private collectors and the premier auction houses.
See a complete membership list and contact info for the companies here.
When was the technical art division started within the company and what significant changes (technology/awareness) have you seen over that period?
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company with over 85,000 employees in 170 countries. SGS Art Services was officially created in 2015 when SGS acquired the assets of FAEI, a company created in 2009 that I was managing. Our ambition is to become the global reference in the art industry for independent condition reports and forensic analyses on artworks.
Over the last seven years in the industry I have seen a clear trend towards professionalization, with many new services being offered in the fields of communication, art financing, analytics, authentication, due diligence, etc. – until a few years ago everything was mostly done in house by galleries, auction houses or fine art logistic companies. However, one of the biggest changes I have observed related to our activity is that forensic/scientific/technical analyses (such as x-ray, pigment analysis or radiocarbon dating) have truly become an important part of due diligence for artworks. There have been so many forgery scandals in recent years that most participants in the art market are aware that one cannot rely solely on the “eye” of an expert, or on the reputation of a gallery or auction house to authenticate an artwork worth several hundreds of thousand dollars. Or millions.
Chris Kneale, Martinspeed, UK
In preparation for ICEFAT’s 40th anniversary conference in Geneva this year, we are focusing on workshops. These sessions promise to be lively with potential for debate, conflict and as usual, resolution. The topics range from the advent of digital platforms in our industry (our nascent E&M sub-committee will discuss new technologies and next generation marketing) to unbiased ranking of the gold standards in art and exhibition logistics (a particularly spicy brew). It’s been a long year, and my maiden voyage as chair. If I was looking for an easy time of it with a group of friendly competitors and allies, I would have made a grave error. But as my physical therapist reminds me, no pain, no gain. I am not despondent, however, because the push and pull with such brilliant and capable professionals will likely end in smart decisions and a way forward. For those of you reading this who are our customers, our vendors, or just groupies (and that’s kind of odd), don’t you wish you could be part of it? Consistently, the best people I have met in the art and museum world, have been these logistics specialists and art handlers.
The large number of spectacular exhibitions around the world means high traffic for the loaning of significant collector’s items and works of art. These items for loan have to be securely packaged and transported. MITS aims to make international loan transit easier for museums, and offers reliable information for the packaging and transport of artwork.
MITS is a multi-lingual internet database that suggests packing materials for art and cultural objects, with pictures and descriptions of their most significant features. The database is freely accessible and adapted for use on PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
Entries are translated into six languages. In addition, MITS facilitates communication between conservators, archivists, and manufacturers worldwide.
MITS is a project run by ICEFAT (International Convention of Exhibition and Fine Art Transporters). The project was voted in for implementation by a small task force in 2012. It consisted of four members from international art hauling companies. Volker Thiel, archivist at the Haus der Geschichte in Bonn, served as consultant, an important contribution to the development of the database. MITS was launched online in early 2016 and has been accessible since then through the ICEFAT website.
Klaus Hillmann, Tandem Lagerhaus und Kraftverkehr Kunst GmbH, Germany
Klaus Hillmann is a member of our MITS and E&M sub-committees