How to move a masterpiece: the secret business of shipping priceless artworks

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The Guardian takes a detailed look at the international logistics of shipping and handling the world’s most valuable art pieces. The already complex and high-cost system has been further pressurized of late due to a booming art market.

Even if you are an obsessive gallery-goer, it’s possible you haven’t put much thought into how the works on the wall came to be there. The art world prefers it this way: what happens behind the signs reading “No Entry: Installation in Progress” remains a ferociously guarded secret. The only hint that this Song dynasty bronze has arrived from that private collection in Taiwan, for example, is a discreet credit on the wall. It may be that, absorbed in our face-to-face encounter with the artwork – what Walter Benjamin described as its “aura” – many of us prefer not to gaze too deeply into that mystery.

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