We are thrilled to be able to share with you our new brochure highlighting the services we offer to our Interior Design Clients…. Please click link below to view!
We are thrilled to be able to share with you our new brochure highlighting the services we offer to our Interior Design Clients…. Please click link below to view!
COVID – 19: The state of play.
In late 2019 there were murmurings of a new SARS type virus originating in Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province in central China. In early 2020 Wuhan was placed under a near total ‘lockdown’ – a word that most of the world was unfamiliar with at the time but would soon become part of everyday vocabulary. As China struggled to keep a lid on the virus the world looked on. There had been viruses originating in Asia more than once since the turn of the century and their spread had always been largely contained, with only a smattering of cases hitting the rest of the world. Why would this one be any different? As warnings from the press and the WHO amplified the Western world went about business largely as normal. On 20th January 2020, the WHO declared COVID–19 a public health emergency of international concern and on 11th March a pandemic was declared – the first since swine flu in 2009, a virus which although global had hit Asia hardest.
This time was to be different. On 9th, March the Italian government announced an immediate nationwide lockdown, superseding more local lockdowns as the virus tore through the country and the number of cases and deaths sadly mounted. This would be followed in the coming weeks by lockdowns of various severity across Europe, the United States and the world. By late March / early April the world as we knew it had come to a standstill. All but non-essential travel was strongly advised against or forbidden, public gatherings banned, and museums, galleries and concert halls shuttered. In the space of about ten days almost all our facilities went from being extremely busy to having little to no work.
As we view the lay of the land in early June the virus in Europe and North America seems to be slowly being brought under control and lockdowns are gradually being eased. The early green shoots of a slow recovery can finally be seen.
Following local government guidance has been the keystone to our response globally. Paris was the first of our facilities to close down – completely, as mandated by the French government, from 17th March. We were able to reply to estimates and questions via email, but nothing more until the government allowed us to re-open on 11th May and we can now once again service local deliveries, installations, imports and exports. With our logistical support, French galleries and auction houses have partially reopened with social distancing measures in place.
In California we maintained a skeleton staff at both our facilities (San Francisco and Los Angeles) throughout the entire lockdown period and are gradually increasing the frequency of services as demand and restrictions allow. Our viewing rooms have proven especially popular as a location where clients can view stock whilst galleries are closed and due to their size, there are no issues with maintaining social distancing requirements. In New York our two viewing rooms have been so popular among Gallery and Auction House clients that we are planning to open a third in the very near future.
In California, as in all our facilities have instigated a COVID–19 protocol to protect both our staff and clients based on guidelines we have received from government. A summary of these measures can be found below:
In Florida we worked with a skeleton staff from 24th March, gradually bringing staff back from 13th April as demand started to increase and returning to a full complement of staff as of 1st June. We have also been able to complete our latest expansion project in West Palm Beach. The enlarged facility will give us a total of 31,000 square feet in our main building, boasting new state of the art offices alongside a 600 square foot viewing room with an impressive 20-foot-high ceiling. Due to the impact of the virus this has been completed ever so slightly later than originally planned, but we were able to continue construction whilst adhering to social distancing measures and are ready to hit the ground running with this exciting new facility.
New York City, which has been the epicentre of the virus in the US, started slowly relaxing lockdown restrictions on 8th June. The art community is still holding its breath; most Auction Houses aim to reopen from mid to late June, whilst many Art Galleries are plan to re-open in early September. For institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art , it will be mid-August. As they re-open we are confident of a quick rebound in demand.
Health and safety is of paramount importance to us and we have taken these steps to protect staff and clients in our offices, warehouses, vehicles and delivery locations.
The lockdown in New York was so complete that even though we have been able to remain open with a skeleton staff there is now a back log of work and projects that requires comprehensive planning to work through. We are working closely with clients in order to alleviate as much of the pressure as we can at the present time. We expect museums and corporate clients to come back at a much slower pace as it will take longer for them to adjust to the new normal. As always, safety is key. We relaunched our shuttle services across the USA on June 1st and expect to run a full schedule through the years end, details of which can be found on our website.
Back in Europe we relaunched our European groupage services on 8th June and will be offering a slightly reduced service that will be reassessed depending on demand. London, like New York and Paris, has been hit especially hard by this pandemic and we worked with a skeleton staff from 23rd March when lockdown was announced. As London and the rest of the UK gradually opens up it is important that we remain vigilant to the threat that the virus still poses. The UK government’s Export Control Unit, which administers export licenses for transport out of the UK, closed for lockdown and reopened on 27th May. Consequently, it is working through a huge backlog meaning that any shipments requiring a license can expect a delay for the foreseeable future.
UK airfreight rates as elsewhere remain very high due to the lack of available space and many clients are opting to hold off on shipments until they come down. We predict this to happen as airfreight capacity comes in over the coming months.
Like all businesses and individuals this pandemic has had a fundamental impact on our operations. It was the joker in the pack that was impossible to prepare for. Never in our history has there been such a complete shutdown of life and restriction to our usual freedoms. As we move gradually towards a new normal, we feel confident that we are well positioned to face what lies ahead. We will continue to constantly update our procedures based on the evolving guidelines from local governments and as always, our commitment to excellence and attention to detail will remain second to none.
Gander & White is ever growing. We are delighted to announce the completion of our latest expansion project in West Palm Beach. The enlarged facility will give us a total of 31,000 square feet in our main building, boasting new state of the art offices alongside a 600 square foot viewing room with an impressive 20-foot-high ceiling.
Due to the impact of the corona virus we have finished ever so slightly later than originally planned, but we have been able to carry on construction whilst adhering to social distancing measures meaning that as the world gradually returns to a new normal we are ready to hit the ground running with this exciting new facility. Our temporary certificate of occupancy is valid from June 5th with a permanent one due two weeks later.
Our commitment to excellence and attention to detail remain, as always, second to none!
Please click here to view video!
Palm Beach location is increasing its size from 20,000 to 30,000 sq. ft. Having laid the foundations last year, we now are completing the external structural work for the new space! After this stage is finished, work will begin on the internal structures in the facility.
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One of our directors, Francelle Bradford White, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List! The award is in recognition of her voluntary and charitable work across numerous sectors.
Francelle has raised funds and volunteered for many charitable causes for most of her adult life. She has carried out extensive fundraising efforts for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (now the Lullaby Trust) and also been involved with Childline, Whizz-Kidz, the British Red Cross, the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK. She has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for these causes over the course of her involvement with them.
Francelle has also volunteered extensively with the British criminal justice system. She has long been an independent custody visitor overseeing the way police treat people held in custody in local police stations. She was ultimately appointed by the Home Office to the Independent Monitoring Board at one of the UK’s largest prisons.
Six years ago, Francelle founded the Andrée Grioterray White Charitable Trust. The charity, founded in her mother’s name, is dedicated to funding research into any form of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and to provide support to those suffering from it. Andrée was a director of Gander & White, having married our founder, Frank White, and taking over the company following his death.
In 2014 Francelle wrote Andrée’s War, which was published by Elliott & Thompson. The book is based on Francelle’s mother’s wartime diaries, charting Andrée’s time working as a courier throughout occupied France in the French Resistance during World War Two. All net income from book sales and all author and speaker fees Francelle receives are donated to the Andrée Grioterray White Charitable Trust. Francelle hopes to sell the film rights to the book.
Francelle has been a director of Gander & White since the early 1970s, joining the company founded by her father in 1933 and run from the mid-60s by her mother, Andrée, until Patrick White, Francelle’s brother, took up the reins. She continues to be a director today.
“I am honoured to receive a BEM in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List” Francelle said. “It feels quite fitting that this honour has been awarded at the start of the year that would have marked my mother’s 100th birthday and I am proud to have used her amazing war time story to raise money to fight a very cruel disease.”
We wanted to share some highlights from the past year that we shared on social media so we have picked a top post from each month to look back on. Head to our social media platforms on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with our operations around the world!
Please click here to see highlights of G&W Social Media from 2019
Our work often brings us into contact with the works of some of the ‘greats’ of art history. In June 2019 we handled masterpieces by the great British painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788). The exhibition, Masters of the Golden Age: Gainsborough, Constable, Turner and Lawrence, was opened at Gainsborough’s House in Suffolk in the east of England. Gainsborough grew up in this house and it has now become a museum, and we were thrilled to assist the institution in one of its most ambitious exhibitions to date.
Major paintings from the Golden Age of British painting were to be loaned for the show, most for the first time ever. Although some of the collection was London based, the majority of works were based in Jersey, a 5-hour ferry journey from the south coast of the U.K.
We sent a team to Jersey to undertake de-installation of the nine works, and crated them in bespoke fine art crates that we ensured were suitable for the journey between the island, just off the coast of France, and their destination in the east of England.
Our team carried out the sea- and road-transportation of artworks to Gainsborough’s House in several stages. The Jersey collection was brought to one of our London fine art facilities for a short time for storage while we brought in the works from other locations. Once altogether, the collection of loaned works was transported in a single consolidated load to Suffolk. Once on-site at the museum we installed the works under the eye of the museum’s curators. For smaller institutions that do not have their own technical teams, this is the best option; trained and fully insured art technicians can conduct the hanging quickly and efficiently with low risk of error or damage.
Once the exhibition closed in late 2019, we handled the return and re-installation of the works to Jersey, to the complete satisfaction of the lender.
Gainsborough’s House is in the early stages of a major redevelopment that will see the extended site turned into a new national center for the celebration of Gainsborough’s work and British art. Three exhibition galleries will be created, and a viewing floor and event space will also be added. In the future larger and more frequent exhibitions will be held, containing works ranging from the masters of the Golden Age to leading contemporary artists, meaning that fine art shippers will be working even more closely with this particular institution.
It was our pleasure to work with Gainsborough’s House to facilitate the delivery and return of loans for this exhibition, a great show of an important period in British art history.
All images courtesy of Gainsborough’s House Society
In Spring 2019, we had the pleasure of delivering the works of celebrated British painter Alfred Munnings for an exhibition at the Munnings Art Museum at Castle House, his former family home in Essex.
Behind the Lines: Alfred Munnings, War Artist, 1918 looks at the works Munnings was commissioned to create by Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook in the final year of the First World War. His sketches, drawings and paintings depicting the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and the Canadian Forestry Corps, bought by the Canadian government, first went on display at London’s Royal Academy in 1919 and brought significant exposure to the artist. A century later, and the exhibition at the Munnings Art Museum marks this pivotal period in the artist’s career.
The 41 works on show, usually housed in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, were originally moved to the UK in late 2018 following significant frame restoration. We were contacted by the Canadian War Museum’s loans registrar to tender our services in moving the artworks from their first temporary exhibition venue at the National Army Museum in London to their eventual destination at the Munnings Art Museum.
In March 2019, ahead of the start of the exhibition, we planned, organised and carried out the shipment of all works to Essex. This required the handling of all necessary administration involved in holding an exhibition of internationally loaned works; this included obtaining a tax suspension from the UK government’s National Import Reliefs Unit to cover the loan from the museum. Our UK Museum Operations Director, Amanda Sharp, directed the project’s administration and practicalities, and was in contact with the museum registrar in Canada and the team at Munnings Art Museum to facilitate all stages of the shipment from start to finish.
We transported the collection of 41 works in 4ft x 4ft x 9ft custom-built crates from London to Essex, a journey of approximately two hours. While there are unique complexities that come with delivering to what was formerly a family home (as opposed to delivering to a purpose-built museum or gallery), our experience working with private clients meant we were more than up to the task! One of our 3.5 tonne vehicles was skilfully navigated through the narrow gate onto the Museum estate, moving it as close as possible to the Tudor and Georgian building. Carrying the crated works through some restrictive doors and corridors, we finally delivered the works to the exhibition space. Our art technicians often carry out the hanging of exhibitions for clients, but on this occasion an art technician from the Canadian War Museum was on site to oversee the hanging of the works.
Three days later, we returned to pick up the crates from the museum for storage in one of our fine art facilities in London. A successful job carried out to the satisfaction of all involved!
When Walter Gander and Frank White came together in London in 1933 to form a fine art shipping company, do you think they ever thought that one day their company would have to be dealing with hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes?
Because in 2019 we have to do exactly that. Since 2003 we have had permanent facilities in Florida, meaning our staff there have had to become adept at supporting clients dealing with tropical storms, cyclones and hurricanes. In 2011 we opened a permanent base in California, a state with high seismological activity and which is increasingly prone to wildfires.
Homes, offices and galleries in Florida and California tend to be built with the worst in mind, and our structures are no different. Whether purpose-built by us or ready-made, we ensure that our fine art facilities can withstand any threat to them. In California, our facilities are earthquake-resistant, each being built on a concrete slab and both compliant with local seismological building codes. In San Francisco, our facility is built into granite, meaning the likelihood of liquification of the ground in a seismic event is minimal. Our facilities in Palm Beach and Miami in Florida are similarly well-built, with storm protocols to shut down the facility in the event of a hurricane putting either facilities at risk.
In these natural disaster zones, we work with galleries, museums, interior designers and private clients to ensure their precious belongings are protected as much as possible from any harm that could come to them. From our facilities in both California and Florida, we have reacted swiftly to get out to areas to remove art and antiques as protective measures from dangerous natural events, ensuring at all times that we do not endanger the safety of our crews.
We can offer a white-glove service for pretty much any fine art request, even when it comes to hurricane preparation support in Florida. We can attend clients homes, offices and galleries to perform a full photo inventory of the art in their collection, then make recommendations to the collector as to which items should be transferred to our storage facilities before Hurricane Season based on size, handling challenges and ease of access.
At the heart of hurricane preparation is education, so it’s important for us to make sure our clients and their staff know how to handle, wrap and ultimately protect the items that are kept at their location during the season.
We operate short-term emergency services for some clients who are perceived to be more at risk once a hurricane has been forecast. Despite this, rushing the removal of a delicate artwork carries great risk of damage. We sometimes leave the threatened artwork in situ and build protective casing around it for its safety.
It’s probably no surprise that artwork is rarely made to withstand an earthquake. Placing artwork in a location prone to them of course carries risks, but we’re used to it! Our California branches are well-versed in seismic safety installation practices, such as florets for wall pieces, museum putty for three-dimensional objects on shelves or pedestals, and weighted pedestals. It’s like hanging artwork on a boat (which we’ve also done). The key is to ensure that the artwork is secured with extra precautions but to make these precautions invisible!
Working with the threat of natural events is part of what we do, but it must be stressed that we NEVER want our staff to be in harm’s way. While we respond to clients when they need us in times like this, we make it known to all our office staff and art technicians that their safety comes first – if they feel endangered or threatened then they must return to safety.
Our newest location, in Los Angeles, California, is completing upgrades to its fine art storage facility. We have recently ordered a range of improvements at the site, opened in 2016, to maintain our position at the forefront of the arts and culture industry in LA.
Improvements are tripling the area of temperature and humidity-controlled storage space in the state-of-the-art facility. Within 19,000 sq. ft of existing storage space, a total area of 10,500 sq. ft will be completely environmentally
controlled with an advanced thermostatic system, increased from 3,500 sq. ft before work commenced. Included in this expanded climatic space are three private vaults, designed with complete discretion for clients in mind. The renewed space is fully racked and accessible and will cater for increased demand for storage services from museums, galleries and private collectors.
The additions and enhancements to the facility have been designed to be above seismic safety codes. The tilt-walled concrete construction also makes it fire retardant, insulative, and durable to damage.
The site in Vernon, five miles south of downtown Los Angeles and with easy access to LAX airport, is well-situated for us to service the West Coast art scene. George Lacovara, our Branch Director in Los Angeles says: “we’re excited to be significantly upgrading our facility here. Recent business we’ve had indicates that the West Coast art scene is experiencing a great period of development, strengthened by the arrival of Frieze Los Angeles in February, and we’re looking forward to working with existing and new clients in the region going forward.”
We have also added another box truck to our fleet of vehicles based in LA. The new vehicle is equipped with environmental controls meaning that goods can remain under climate control from the moment they leave storage up to the point they reach their final destination.
Our Los Angeles facility works closely with our sister West Coast facility in San Francisco to transport, install and store for galleries, museums, interior designers, auction houses and private collectors in California and beyond. The addition of more specialized storage space and another vehicle will greatly aid our operations in the region.
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