Family Office MAgazine Summer 2018 Issue

Page 24

Fine Art on Superyachts and in International Waters The Protection of Art At Sea Symposium National Maritime Museum, London, 2nd May 2018 Damage and loss to our cultural heritage in the maritime environment is real, present and significant. Family Offices owning or managing both art collections and yachts must take heed. Threats have stretched to an entire superyacht being impounded because of a piece of contemporary art residing in the interior. Paintings worth many millions of Euros have been confiscated, never to be seen again and disputes arise as to value and title of fine art on board to the extent that it can hinder a vessel’s sale or departure. Art on superyachts can be more valuable than the vessel itself and is often damaged needlessly, through lack of proper training, awareness and curatorial care. It was with this backdrop, the observation of a lack of care for treasured objects and luxury interiors that Helen Robertson and Pandora Mather-Lees created training programmes to help management, captains and crew learn about the very specific nature of handling art collections.


The purpose of the symposium was to start a dialogue with industry, raise awareness, gather data and show how even fundamental education can preserve an owner’s assets, assist Captains with compliance and help interior crew avoid costly mistakes. Following an introduction and welcome by the museum’s director, Dr Kevin Fewster, Pandora Mather-Lees set the day in context with some correlations between the two industries, the UHNW owner and statistics around the art market and the superyacht market. According to Wealth-X, some 202 billionaires own superyachts and 28% of these have an interest in fine art with a fifth being deemed actual collectors. Vessels Value calculate that there are 7,855 superyachts live on water with 2,000 of these being 40m and over. This is the size from which a vessel may carry significant valuable objects. The $64 billion art market and the superyacht industry share some characteristics in that both represent asset classes with these assets travelling across borders,

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