Fine Art Shipping Los Angeles


Los Angeles is one of the premier art markets in the world. With world-renowned museums like The Getty and LACMA, along with contemporary art hotspots like Hauser & Wirth and Regen Projects, Los Angeles has cemented itself as a major hub for fine art. This means there is a constant flow of fine art shipping in and out of Los Angeles. Proper care and planning is essential when shipping fine art in order to protect these precious works. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of fine art shipping in Los Angeles, including a checklist for shipping preparation, how to choose a specialist art shipper, and what services an experienced company like EMS offers.

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The Fine Art Landscape of Los Angeles

With its vibrant gallery scene focused in neighborhoods like Culver City, DTLA, and Hollywood, Los Angeles has become a top contemporary art market rivaling New York. The sunny climate and palm tree-dotted landscape attracts artists and collectors from around the globe. Top collectors based in LA include Eli Broad, Don and Mera Rubell, and Lynda and Stewart Resnick. With world-renowned museums like LACMA and the Getty, along with blue-chip galleries like Gagosian and David Zwirner setting up outposts in the city, the art ecosystem continues to expand. This constant influx and trading of precious art requires proper care and expertise when handling shipping needs.

The Necessity for Specialist Fine Art Shipping in Los Angeles

With the complex art ecosystem and a constant flow of valuables into galleries, museums, and private collections, Los Angeles requires art shipping specialists ready to provide customized solutions. Avoid general shipping companies without expertise in art handling – the specialized care and regulatory considerations require proven experience. Attempting to ship fine art without the right protocols and preparations often leads to damage, loss, or delays that end up costing far more in the long run. Partnering with a specialist art shipper alleviates those risks.

Navigating Customs and Import/Export Regulations

For international shipments, a specialist will know how to navigate the paperwork, laws, and logistics involved in clearing customs efficiently. They will have established relationships with customs brokers worldwide. Art often requires special clearances and duties – regulations are continuously evolving so it’s essential your partner stays up to date. Any hurdles or delays during the customs process can impact climate-controlled art, so work with a shipper that can expedite clearance.

Real-Time Tracking and Security

Today’s technology allows real-time tracking of art shipments via GPS and radio frequency identification (RFID). The shipper can monitor conditions like temperature and humidity during transit and address any fluctuations immediately. Tamper-evident seals and crate monitoring also improve security. Tracking provides peace of mind and accountability throughout the shipping process.

Unpacking and Installation Assistance

Rather than leaving you to unpack and install your valuable art alone, specialist art shippers have staff trained in art handling to perform this process safely. They inventory artwork against condition reports, follow acclimatization procedures, and dispose of packing materials properly after delivery. Having specialists present during unpacking provides supervision in case any damage or issues are identified.

Consultation and Customized Planning

An art shipping specialist will advise you on factors like timing, environmental conditions, routing, and paperwork to ensure your art arrives safely and efficiently. Custom crating solutions, climate control protocols, and specialized oversight during transit is based on each piece’s unique characteristics and vulnerabilities. Don’t trust your valuables to chance – this level of consultation and customization reduces risk.

Checklist for Fine Art Shipping in Los Angeles

When getting ready to ship fine art in Los Angeles, it’s crucial to be meticulous to safeguard your valuables. To achieve this, make sure to:

  • Find a specialist art shipper with extensive experience handling high value items
  • Assess the condition of artwork and bring in conservators if needed
  • Obtain specialized art packing materials like climatized crates and moisture monitoring
  • Complete detailed condition reports before packing and assess environmental risks
  • Obtain appropriate insurance coverage and understand claims processes
  • Navigate customs regulations and paperwork for international shipments
  • Use real-time tracking and monitoring throughout the shipping process
  • Oversee professional installation and unpacking upon delivery
  • Keep thorough documentation throughout the entire process

Having the right protocols and partnering with a reliable company can give you peace of mind that your art will be safeguarded during shipping.

How to Choose a Reliable Fine Art Shipping Company

With the complexities and high stakes involved in shipping fine art, it’s essential to select an experienced partner you can trust fully. Taking time to vet companies thoroughly will pay dividends in ensuring your art arrives safely. Below are key factors to consider when choosing a fine art shipping company in Los Angeles.


International shipping of fine art involves navigating a complex web of customs regulations, tax laws, import/export requirements, and legal standards that differ from one country to another. When choosing a fine art shipping company in Los Angeles, it’s crucial to partner with experts who have an in-depth understanding of these intricate regulations. Such professionals can guide you through the necessary paperwork and declarations required to move your art across borders seamlessly, ensuring compliance with customs procedures. Additionally, they can provide valuable insights into tax and duty considerations, helping you manage potential financial implications associated with international art shipments.

Insurance and Documentation

Obtaining the right insurance coverage is mandatory when shipping valuable art. Be sure to understand the claims process and any limitations or exclusions. All-risk protection policies that cover the full value of the art in transit and storage are ideal. Documentation is also key – maintain detailed condition reports before packing, along with photographs documenting every stage of transit. Keep certificates of insurance, invoices, and customs/export paperwork in a safe location. Thorough documentation protects you in the event of any damage or loss claims.

Assessment and Consultation

Before packing and shipping, have the art assessed by a professional to detect any pre-existing condition issues or restorations needed to stabilize the work. Things like loose canvas, flaking paint, or particular structural vulnerabilities can be addressed by a conservator ahead of time. Have the shipper provide guidance on risks associated with factors like humidity, temperature changes, vibration or shock that could impact the art in transit. Their expertise can guide transportation decisions.

Packaging Solutions

Proper packaging tailored to the specific artwork is crucial. Look for:

  • Climate-controlled crates that regulate temperature and humidity
  • Cushioning like bubble wrap and foam to absorb vibrations
  • Custom structural bracing for large or fragile works
  • Security measures like hidden GPS trackers
  • Tamper-evident seals and protective exterior crating
  • Pest control measures as necessary

A reputable shipper will have vast experience creating specialized packaging to safeguard your art.

Coordination with Art Conservators

Partnering with professional art conservators throughout the process provides an added layer of protection. Have them conduct examinations before packing to detect any issues. They can also be on site for unpacking at the destination to assess the art and perform any minor interventions if needed. Their expert care ensures the art arrives in the same condition it left.


Depending on the type of artwork, specialized transportation may be required like climate-controlled vehicle transport or temperature-regulated air freight. Shock absorbers, stabilizers, and GPS tracking provide security. Have a contingency plan in case of any delays – things like climate control and pest mitigation remain crucial even during unexpected layovers. The shipper should provide transparency around transportation protocols and progress.

Delivery and Installation

White glove delivery services will carefully unpack and install the art using proper tools and handling techniques. Presence of a conservator and the shipper’s team during installation provides accountability and care. Have condition reports completed upon delivery to document the art is in the expected state after transit. Follow any acclimatization procedures before display, like gradual temperature adjustments. Finally, dispose of packing materials and crates properly.

Global Network 

When selecting a fine art shipping company in Los Angeles, it’s essential to consider their global network and international capabilities. A company with a well-established worldwide presence can significantly enhance the success of your art shipments. They have established connections with shipping agents, customs authorities, and logistics providers in various countries, ensuring a smooth process when your art needs to cross borders. This global reach not only streamlines coordination but also provides expertise in handling the complexities of international art shipping, such as navigating customs regulations, ensuring security, and offering timely communication throughout the shipment’s journey.

Working with EMS Group for Your Fine Art Shipping Needs in Los Angeles

Entrusting your fine art shipping needs in Los Angeles to EMS Group means opting for an experience marked by professionalism, dedication, and expertise. Known for their comprehensive service portfolio that encapsulates every aspect of art logistics, EMS Group stands as a beacon of reliability in the realm of art transportation. 

From offering consultation and customized planning solutions to ensuring seamless coordination with art conservators, they embody a commitment to safeguarding your artistic treasures at every juncture. 

Their adeptness in navigating complex customs procedures, coupled with the provision of real-time tracking and security, guarantees peace of mind and a seamless shipping experience. With a proven track record of success, working with EMS Group promises not only the safe transit of your artworks but also a partnership that values and honors the intrinsic worth and story of each piece entrusted to their care.

A Brief Background on EMS Group Fine Art Services

Established in 2011, EMS Group has rapidly cemented its status as a frontrunner in the sphere of fine art services, offering a wide array of solutions that extend beyond merely shipping. Situated in the pulsating hub of creativity and artistic endeavor, this privately held company is fueled by a dynamic team of entrepreneurs, problem-solvers, and project management enthusiasts who thrive in the vibrant spaces where art and logistics intersect. 

Leveraging strategic partnerships and a diverse skill set, they offer services that span from fine art shipping and installation to custom crating and storage, embodying a relentless pursuit to exceed client expectations at every turn. Their extensive clientele, featuring prestigious names such as David Zwirner and Sotheby’s, attests to their commitment to delivering exceptional service.

Expertise in Handling Fine Art in Los Angeles

In the vibrant and dynamic art scene of Los Angeles, EMS Group has emerged as a trusted name, renowned for their adeptness and expertise in handling precious fine art pieces with utmost precision and care. 

Their in-depth understanding of the art landscape in the city enables them to offer tailored solutions that meet the distinct needs of galleries, collectors, and artists alike. Their team of seasoned professionals, who excel in navigating the multifaceted dimensions of art shipping and installation, work diligently to ensure the integrity and safety of every artwork in their custody. 

From crafting bespoke packaging solutions to offering insightful consultation and customized planning, their services are comprehensive, drawing upon a rich tapestry of experience and an unyielding commitment to client satisfaction. EMS Group stands as a beacon of excellence in the Los Angeles art sector, facilitating a seamless journey for artworks from their origin to their new destination, with a promise of security and professionalism at every step.

If you have any questions or would to work with us on your next shipment, Contact us here.