Art on the Superyachts: Beware of Wine Corks and Kids

(Bloomberg) -- Expensive yachts that double as floating art galleries can lead to unexpected and costly mishaps.

Priceless paintings and sculptures kept on the vessels face damage not only from storms and storing conditions, but also from random threats including breakfast cereal splashed by the owner’s kids and the yacht’s crew popping champagne on board.

Two British art historians set out to help superboat owners preserve paintings hanging on their yachts, the Observer newspaper said Sunday.

Art historian and conservationist Pandora Mather-Lees runs courses in practical care of fine arts on a superyacht -- at a cost of as much as 300 euros a day. Mather-Lees started giving lessons for crews after a billionaire sought her help in restoring a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting ruined first by his children throwing cornflakes and then by the crew wiping them off carelessly, according to the Observer. Her course teaches the crew to understand the value of objects on board and how to seek specialist help in case of emergency.

The value of art on a yacht could be two to three times the value of the vessel, according to Helen Robertson, a conservator at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which last year hosted a symposium dedicated to “art at sea.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.