Fine Art Shipping New York City


New York City is one of the premier art hubs in the world, home to world-renowned galleries, auction houses, museums and collectors. As a result, fine art shipping is a major industry supporting the vibrant NYC art scene. Specialist art shippers are essential for safely transporting fine artworks to, from and within NYC.

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The Fine Art Landscape of New York City

New York City’s art landscape, enriched by prestigious auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s and an array of galleries in Chelsea, the Upper East Side, and Brooklyn, facilitates the annual movement of billions of dollars worth of fine art. The city is also home to renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, boasting massive collections. With numerous prominent artists maintaining studios in NYC and a thriving community of private collectors, the city becomes a nexus of valuable fine art. This concentration necessitates a continuous demand for specialized transportation and handling services.

The Necessity for Specialist Fine Art Shipping in New York City

Properly shipping fine art in a city like NYC requires experience and expertise tailored specifically to the art world. With so many one-of-a-kind irreplaceable pieces needing cautious transport and handling, generalist shipping companies are simply not equipped to provide the needed level of care. However specialist art shippers have the knowledge to treat your art properly. They understand what’s at stake and have extensive experience handling virtually any shipping scenario. The intricate dance of regulations, insurance, materials, vehicles and services is second nature to them. When choosing art shippers in a city like New York, always opt for specialists.

Consultation and Customized Planning

Every fine art shipment has unique handling requirements, from a fragile antiquity to an assembled multimedia sculpture. Reputable NYC art shippers provide customized solutions tailored to the specialized needs of any project, large or small. With extensive experience shipping for NYC’s major institutions and collectors, no request is too complex. They remain actively engaged from initial consultation and planning through the final art installation. Peace of mind comes from having a partner who treats every job as an opportunity to provide individualized attention and service.

Real-Time Tracking and Security

Technology plays an important role in contemporary fine art shipping as well. GPS tracking allows shipments to be monitored in real-time across cities or around the globe. Temperature and humidity sensors confirm maintenance of ideal conditions throughout transit without need to open the packaging. Security features like motion sensors and CCTV provide additional protection against theft. Software integrations allow transparent coordination and instant status updates among clients, shippers, handlers and recipients. Technology convergence helps expert art shippers provide assurance and convenience around the entire process.

Unpacking and Installation Assistance

An often overlooked but critical stage of the fine art shipping process is careful unpacking and installation at the destination. After safely arriving, specialty crates and packaging designed for travel must be disassembled. The artworks require just as gentle handling to avoid incidental damage now that the journey has completed. Art handlers use specialized tools and techniques to remove securing bolts, braces and cushioning materials without disturbing the art. Some large or elaborate pieces require multi-person teams to safely lift, position and secure in the display location. Having professional art handling assistance through the entire process prevents mishaps.

Checklist for Fine Art Shipping in New York City

When choosing which company to assist in shipping fine art to, from or within NYC, there are a few key key factors to consider:

  • Are they dedicated exclusively to fine art shipping, or is it just one of their services? Specialists comprehend the unique demands of fine art.
  • What is their track record in shipping to/from/within New York City? Local knowledge is invaluable for successful art transport.
  • Do they possess climate-controlled, museum-quality storage and transport facilities? 
  • Are they well-informed about the relevant regulations and paperwork for both domestic and international shipments? Art transactions often involve intricate customs formalities and legal aspects.
  • What security protocols and real-time tracking systems do they have in place? Safeguarding high-value art necessitates stringent controls and constant visibility.
  • What is their standing in the industry, and what is their track record? Esteemed specialists cultivate enduring relationships within the local arts community.
  • Do they offer additional services such as valuation, consultation, packing, crating, delivery, installation, storage, etc.? Opting for a “one-stop shop” simplifies the process.
  • Are they adequately insured? Specialist art shippers maintain substantial cargo insurance policies; inquire about the extent of coverage.
  • How do they prioritize safety and loss prevention? Consider their handling procedures, staff training qualifications, and risk management practices.

How to Choose a Reliable Fine Art Shipping Company

With so much fine art needing specialized care and expertise during shipping in NYC, it’s essential to select an experienced company you can trust. Warning signs like unusually low prices or lack of references should be heeded. Reputable companies will have:

  • Decades of experience handling fine art transportation specifically.
  • Teams of experts including art handlers, registrars and collection managers.
  • Strong networks with museums, galleries, collectors and other art institutions.
  • Custom packing and crating capabilities.
  • Specialized climate-controlled vehicles and storage facilities.
  • Insurance policies that cover the full value of artworks.
  • Use of technology like real-time tracking and security monitoring.
  • White glove delivery and installation services.

Insurance and Documentation

When arranging specialized art shipping in NYC, comprehensive insurance coverage and proper documentation are absolute musts. Reputable companies will have insurance policies that protect the full value of your fine art during transit, with no caps or limits that leave you exposed. Proper certificates of insurance should be provided upfront. Bills of lading, invoices, packing lists and condition reports should accompany each shipment. Knowing your art is fully protected gives great peace of mind.

Assessment and Consultation

Trustworthy NYC art shippers will have experts who thoroughly assess the details and unique requirements of your particular fine art shipment. They’ll inspect the artworks firsthand, account for frailty, size, medium and other factors, and advise on concerns like humidity. Custom packing and crating solutions will be proposed to ensure safe travel. Seasoned art shippers have seen virtually any shipping scenario and can plan accordingly. Taking advantage of their consultative services helps avoid issues.

Packaging Solutions

Fine art packaging and crating should be treated as a science to balance protection, stability and accessibility. Materials like muslin, ethafoam, wood crates, and corrugated cardboard must be carefully selected and configured for the individual artwork. Interiors are designed to eliminate any shifting or abrasion. Climate monitors guard against mold or excess humidity. Specialized cases have custom-cut dense foam or suspended mounting that immobilizes the art. Packaging for oversized art, sculptures, installations or other unusual pieces often requires one-of-a-kind engineered solutions. Expert art shippers have access to these specialized materials and resources.

Coordination with Art Conservators

For some fine art shipments, it can be prudent to engage art conservation experts to advise on material composition, previous restoration, structural integrity and other factors that inform the packing strategy and handling instructions. Reputable art shippers frequently partner with conservators to ensure art history and science converge for the safest possible transport packaging and transit environment. This protects both the financial and cultural value.


Once properly packed and documented, fine art must be transported in climate-controlled, suspension-cushioned vehicles designed to eliminate vibration, jostling, or sudden bumps. Specialized temperature and humidity control protects against cracking, mold and more. Secured air-ride vans with alarms and GPS monitoring transport smaller pieces. Larger items may require special art haulers. Alert drivers specially trained in art transport are essential. Route planning accounts for road quality, height/width limitations, and multi-person mobilization for loading/unloading. White glove service ensures the art itself is always carefully handled by experts.

Delivery and Installation

Throughout the delivery process, the same white glove service continues. Experienced art handlers carefully unload, inspect for any issues, and safely convey artworks through doors, hallways, elevators, etc. Detailed coordination ensures lighting, utilities, security and other elements are prepared ahead of installation. If any display fixtures or mounting needs assembling, specialized art preparators handle this. The art handlers gently position and secure each piece in its designated location, with guidance from collection managers if needed. The entire delivery process emphasizes care, expertise and collaboration for smooth fine art placement.

Working with EMS Group for Your Fine Art Shipping Needs in New York City

Entrusting your fine art shipping needs in New York City to our team at EMS group means opting for an experience marked by professionalism, dedication, and expertise. Known for our comprehensive service portfolio that encapsulates every aspect of art logistics, we stand 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, we embody a commitment to safeguarding your fine art at every juncture. Our 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 us 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 our 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 New York City

In the vibrant and dynamic art scene of New York City, we have emerged as a trusted name, renowned for our adeptness and expertise in handling precious fine art pieces with utmost precision and care. Our in-depth understanding of the art landscape in the city enables us to offer tailored solutions that meet the distinct needs of galleries, collectors, and artists alike. Our 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 our custody.

From crafting bespoke packaging solutions to offering insightful consultation and customized planning, our services are comprehensive, drawing upon a rich tapestry of experience and an unyielding commitment to client satisfaction. We stand as a beacon of excellence in the New York City 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.