How to Lend Fine Art to a Museum | Heather James Fine Art

There are many reasons why a fine art collector lends their art to museums and galleries. For those who love art, they may want to share their passion and give the public access to new works. For others, sharing art is a way to maintain the legacy of an artist while making sure their art is safe and cared for. Still others have simply run out of wall space for their vast collection.

But while there are many benefits to lending art there are risks as well. These can range from transportation to taxation issues. If you’re a fine art collector who is interested in lending your collection, contact our Art Consultant in your region to find out how to loan fine art to a museum.

Start the conversation

While damage to your private collection during transit is certainly a concern there are many other risks that are not widely known. Here are a few things to consider before lending fine art to a museum.

  1. Loan Agreements. Because a loan agreement is a binding contract it’s important to be specific when listing the terms of your loan, including the care, location, moving, insurance and other items. Include the most recent appraisal values and condition reports to ensure compensation in the case of damage or theft while your art is on loan.
  2. The Right Insurance. In addition to your personal art insurance the museum should provide their own loan insurance, which should be “door-to-door”, or total coverage of your work from the moment it leaves your home until it returns. This should cover any restorations, the most recent appraisal value and transit.
  3. Transit and Shipping. In case of damage will you only be compensated for the restoration costs or also for loss in value? Shipping damages should be covered by your insurance but it’s also important to get a condition report of each piece prior to transit. That way you’re protected from any new damage. Also be aware that UPS and FedEx insurance policies do not include artwork.
  4. Taxes. Some fine art may be subject to a “use tax” depending on the state. Use taxes are generally imposed on the use, storage or importation of tangible personal property where no sales tax was paid. For example, if you purchased your artwork in New York and then ship it to a museum in California you could be forced to pay the use tax set by the state of California.
  5. Charitable Contributions. Although you won’t be able to deduct your loan as a charitable contribution on your taxes, lending your collection is a wonderful opportunity to share your passion with the viewing public, and to include the exhibition in the provenance of your art.

Working with a team

Lending art to museums or galleries is a great way to share your love of art and it’s mutually beneficial. Museums seek to educate the public on their art, and great collections often attract more visitors and increase sales. But before you work with a museum or gallery, consult with a team of fine art experts to ensure you get the best for your art.

For over 25 years the fine art consultants at Heather James Fine Art have offered appraisal, art transportation, collection management and financial services to clients globally. If you’re interested in learning about art as an investment or are considering loaning a piece of art to a museum, contact us today.



How to Lend Your Fine Art to a Museum

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