Transporting large-scale paintings to Paris: The temporary exhibition “Grand Decors Restored from Notre-Dame” at the Galerie des Gobelins

14 May 2024
Transport de tableaux de grands formats à Paris

Transporting the temporary exhibition “Grand Decors Restored from Notre-Dame” to the Galerie des Gobelins

Bovis Fine Art played a crucial role in transporting the artworks for the exhibition “Grand Decors Restored from Notre-Dame,” taking place from April 24th to July 21st, 2024, at the Galerie des Gobelins in Paris.

We provided comprehensive services, ensuring the safety and preservation of the artworks throughout the project.

Custom-made large-scale crates

It all starts with the fabrication of custom-made crates tailored to the specific dimensions and conservation requirements of each artwork. These crates provide optimal protection during transport, mitigating any potential damage.

Bovis Fine Art boasts its professional carpentry service capable of crafting crates of all types, from simple to intricate designs.

The next step involves meticulously packing each artwork using high-quality materials and proven techniques to guarantee maximum protection against shocks and vibrations. This crucial step ensures that the artworks arrive at their destination in impeccable condition.

Transportation in our titan trailer, specially designed for large-scale artworks

Once prepared, the artworks are carefully loaded into our Titan trailer, specially designed for transporting large-scale artworks. This trailer not only offers a maximum height of 3.71 meters but also features advanced safety mechanisms to ensure maximum stability during transit.

Upon arrival at the Galerie des Gobelins, our professional team handles the unloading of the artworks with care, adhering to appropriate handling protocols to avoid any risk of damage.

Installation of artworks using scaffolding towers

Precision assembly of scaffolding towers follows, ensuring a safe and stable support structure for installing the artworks in the gallery.

Finally, our team of experts proceeds with installing the artworks in the Galerie des Gobelins, following the directives provided by the exhibition curators. Each artwork is carefully positioned, showcasing its beauty and historical significance within the exhibition space.

An exhibition showcasing restored artworks from Notre-Dame cathedral

This exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the DRAC Île-de-France and the Mobilier National in Paris. It offers a rare opportunity to explore the iconic décors of Notre-Dame Cathedral just before its scheduled reopening on December 8th 2024. It also provides a chance to admire these artworks up close, which are typically displayed at heights in the cathedral’s side chapels.

Featuring twenty-one large-scale paintings, including the famous restored “mays,” this exhibition highlights the meticulous conservation and restoration work carried out in collaboration with the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF). Accompanied by other remarkable pieces such as the tapestry depicting the life of the Virgin and an immense Savonnerie carpet, these artistic treasures offer a unique glimpse into the cathedral’s historical richness.

The exhibition also pays tribute to the expertise of heritage restorers who have worked tirelessly for several years at the restoration center specially established in one of the Bovis Group warehouses to restore the cathedral’s paintings to their former glory.

This exhibition has received support from the Bovis Group through a sponsorship of expertise.

Bovis Fine Art, a key player in the rescue and restoration of Notre Dame’s artworks

Bovis Fine Art has been at the forefront of the rescue and restoration operations of artworks from Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris over the past five years.

The rescue: the transport of artworks after the fire

Many paintings featured in this exhibition were originally installed in the side chapels of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Immediately after the fire ravaged the cathedral on April 15, 2019, Bovis Fine Art and other transportation companies were mobilized to remove and safeguard the artworks displayed in the Cathedral, miraculously spared by the flames. Quick action was necessary to prevent any risk of deterioration to the artworks.

Our teams contributed to the removal, handling, and packaging of the cathedral’s monumental paintings, including the famous “mays” of Notre Dame, particularly ancient and precious. Handling towers were installed in front of each painting, and about ten specialized handlers proceeded with the manipulation and packaging of the artworks.

For the transport of the paintings, the Titan semi-trailer was urgently dispatched from our Tti subsidiary in Spain. The Titan trailer, one of the largest in Europe with an interior height of 371 cm, is perfectly suited for transporting large-format artworks, such as the monumental religious canvases from Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Creating a storage and restoration zone in record time

After their rescue, the cathedral’s artworks were stored in temporary reserves. It was then decided that, although miraculously spared by the fire, the artworks would undergo an ambitious restoration campaign to present their finest appearance for the cathedral’s reopening in December 2024.

Bovis Fine Art won a tender for the creation of conservation and restoration zones for the cathedral’s paintings.

We constructed a 2,000 m² workspace in one of the secure warehouses of the Bovis Group, located south of Paris. For the reserves, the project included the creation of the largest artwork rack system in Europe, with impressive dimensions – a height of 6.5 meters and a vertical storage surface of nearly 1,000 m². The installation required over 10 tons of stainless steel.

The storage and restoration spaces are fully equipped and climate-controlled, incorporating cutting-edge systems for temperature and humidity control to ensure optimal conservation conditions. Restorers work in two 500 m² zones each for the restoration of supports and frames on one hand and the pictorial layer on the other.

It is in these unique facilities in France, built in record time, that teams of professional restorers have passionately worked over the past few years to restore the paintings of Notre-Dame Cathedral to their full splendor.