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5 things to consider when displaying fine art on superyachts

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Proper insurance and security is important for keeping art on board your yacht

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There is no denying the symbiotic relationship between superyachts and art. You have only to look at the number of yachts lined up alongside the Giardini gardens during the Venice Biennale art festival or that throng Biscayne Bay during Art Basel Miami Beach to know that superyacht owners are often art collectors too, and that the yachts themselves can be the work of artists.

Wtih PAD London and Frieze Week offering plenty of yacht-ready works this month, many owners may have added a piece or two to their collections. But what are the practicalities of decorating a yacht with art?

With all the possible challenges – from theft to damage – is it ever worth housing a fine art collection on board? Given that the art collection is often worth more than the boat itself, are yachts the wisest place to keep them? The question is divisive, it seems, and depends on the yacht owner’s attitudes towards risk, culture and yachting.

Proper insurance and security is important for keeping art on board your yacht

A working alarm system is essential. Indeed it will probably be a condition of your insurance. The next consideration is whether the value of the art outweighs the value of the boat. Marine insurance policies are rarely standardised, so your art collection can probably be incorporated into it. However, if the art is likely to outweigh the value of the vessel, you may need additional specialist art insurance, in which case it would be rash not to consult a broker.

"Insurance companies expect owners to employ a professional art management service to guarantee maximum protection where all possible negative influences are avoided from day one," adds Aston Milan Salcedo of Yacht Art Management. "Many countries also have strict laws to protect their cultural property so you may also face legal issues if you're taking an important piece of art out of a country."

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Too much light can damage a yacht’s artwork

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Lighting is all-important, both directional and ambient. As on land, photography, watercolours and drawings need to be protected from natural light, so frame them using a highly protective anti-glare, anti-reflective glass and hang works away from direct light sources. Raffaele Costa, owner of Sea Force One, uses carefully deployed lighting aboard his yacht to ensure maximum impact with minimum damage.

However, aside from avoiding harmful UV rays, light can also play a key role in the way your art is displayed and viewed. "To create perfect illumination of the colours in the artwork a specific LED light system in the appropriate range of colours is necessary," advises Milan Salcedo. "Due to the limited ceiling height in a yacht we highly recommend working with an interior designer early on in the process."

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Install art on yachts the right way

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Sea Force One

You cannot simply hang a painting on board; it needs to be screwed to the wall. The same goes for fixing small sculptures and objects, which is where “museum glue” (also called gel, wax or putty) comes in: a clear product that fixes objects to surfaces (though not irrevocably) to stop them shifting in a swell. "Even with six metre waves in the Gulf of Lyon nothing really moved," Raffaele Costa says in testament to the skill of the team who installed the numerous artworks on board his 53 metre Mariotti yacht.

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