Category Archives: Art Insurance

Fine Art Storage: A Cautionary Tale

The continued strength of the contemporary-art market and the growing need for secure, climate-controlled art storage space is increasing as more and more art is created, purchased by collectors and acquired by museums.

Art storage facilities are supposed to be forward looking to make sure that property entrusted to them for safekeeping remains protected and unaltered while in their custody. Elements such as temperature, humidity, and pest control are vital to preserving artworks from any damage or total loss. Certain mediums like paper, canvas, plaster, metal, and clay are of course particularly vulnerable to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Yet sometimes things go wrong even with the best of intentions.

For example, a well-known storage facility received multiple lawsuits for damage, incurred during 2012’s hurricane Sandy. Ultimately, artworks in many studios, galleries, and storage facilities were severely damaged when Sandy, a tropical storm that was updated to a hurricane, hit the tri-state area.

In lawsuits resulting from those damages to art stored, the point of contention is the manner by which liability is allocated in storage contracts. Some contracts between the storage facility and its clients required clients to obtain an art insurance policy. In other instances, there may have been waivers of subrogation or a limitation of liability clause.

In addition to mother nature, accidents also happen, but not that often. A fire at Momart’s east London warehouse in 2004 destroyed hundreds of works by such noted artists as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, and Chris Ofili. A fire at Artex’s warehouse in Dedham, Mass., in 2005 destroyed and damaged many pieces. In 2004, Fine Art Logistics, a storage company in London, mistakenly left out for trash a 1984 sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

This is why it is so important to perform due diligence and speak with Art Insurance professionals like Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. (ArtInsuranceNow.com) for a clear picture on insurance coverages, to allow the art owner the ability to make well-informed decisions on obtaining insurance.

Call us at 800.921.1008 to speak with an Art Insurance Professional and visit us at ArtInsuranceNow.com to apply for a free quote and live chat with an agent.

Art in Transit: Why we insure.

The reasons for art being shipped varies greatly, a collector may move or place artwork in storage while their home is being renovated, they often sell artwork at popular art fairs and even lend pieces to museums.

A dealer or gallerist may sell artwork to a collector from out of town or even another country, the working artist sends their commissioned works to buyers, galleries, etc. Auction houses frequently send and receive works of art. There are many different reasons for art transit, including shipping art out of harms way in cases of hurricanes and wildfires.

Other than hauling that hidden ‘masterpiece’ in the attic down to the Antiques Roadshow, artwork should be handled with care, shipped by professionals, and most importantly insured.

Transit insurance is extremely important to the safety of your investment. If you have the opportunity to talk with anybody in the insurance world for fine art, most of the losses by frequency — something like 70% — are caused by damage while it’s being handled through transit. Even so, not all insurance policies cover works of art.

Standard homeowners insurance likely won’t extend to cover your art collection, which is why most artists, collectors, dealers, and auction houses purchase a stand-alone policy that often includes protection for new works while they are being shipped to your home or business but it’s important to speak to knowledgeable art insurance professionals like Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. (ArtInsuranceNow.com) and understand what’s covered and what is not.

It is important to know that most transporters limit their liability and folks are often quite surprised at how low their liability is. So, make sure your insurance policy covers the work of art as it’s being shipped.

Whether buying or selling at art fairs be sure that your work or investment has the maximum coverage with minimal headaches by using the Trusted One Stop Art Insurance for the Art Community since 1949, Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. Visit artinsurancenow.com or call 800-921-1008 we can help you with all of your Art Insurance requirements.

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Fair Market And Insurance Value For Works Of Art

Fine-Art Insurance valuations aren’t so complicated, as some may think. Here is the breakdown. The IRS defines fair market value as the price that property would sell for on the open market, as agreed upon between a willing buyer and a willing seller, with neither being required to act and both having a reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.

Usually, this means the auction market (buyer’s premium included), because auction is the predominant market of open exchange. If the property in question sells predominantly or exclusively at retail (i.e. in a gallery), however, retail is the market used by the appraiser. All IRS appraisals are fair market value appraisals.

Insurance appraisals have a different criterion for valuation. Here the assumption is that the insured item needs to be replaced in a timely manner. Waiting for a similar item to come up for auction could be unreasonable and impractical. So instead of a valuation based on the auction market, retail replacement is the most appropriate valuation.

This is the price that one would expect to pay for the same or similar item in a retail setting at the present time. Oftentimes the insurance value is even a bit higher than retail to accommodate for shipping and other costs related to the purchase.

Also, check out our informative article on Schedule VS. Blanket Coverage for an in-depth look at how policies are written in terms of valuation.

As a knowledgeable Art Insurance broker, I can guide you through the process of navigating the often confusing insurance industry and properly protecting your Art. Give us a call at 800.921.1008 or Live Chat with us at www.ArtInsuranceNow.com you can even get a free quote by following the link below.

 

Join us at Tribeca Art + Culture Night!

ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons, Inc. is proud to be a sponsor of the TRIBECA ART + CULTURE NIGHT

As leaders in Fine-Art Insurance, we understand the importance of art and that not only should it be protected, but it should be experienced by the public. Cities gain cultural, social and economic value through art. It reflects and reveals our society, adds meaning to our cities and uniqueness in our communities.

It is free and open to the public. The event presents a program of events like a FESTIVAL, showcases venues/organizations like an ART FAIR, unlocks spaces to the public like an OPEN HOUSE, and offers art-walks to showcase exhibitions like an ART NIGHT.

It is also an ART MARATHON. Attendees can choose their own adventure mixing exhibitions with workshops, talks, demonstrations, and performances. In just 3 hours, from 6-9 PM, visitors join together to attend a curator-led tour, learn a new skill in a creative workshop, watch a live dance performance, and discover the unexpected in a contemporary gallery they may have never found otherwise. TAC Night is an adventurous playground showcasing artists, performers, curators, scientists, chefs, wellness experts, musician, designers, authors, thought leaders, and makers.

 

Will the Glasgow School of Art rise from the ashes again?

Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of ArtDesigned by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and fully completed in 1909, the Grade A-listed Mackintosh Building is one of the Glasgow’s most cherished architectural works, and one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the world. Before the recent fire broke out, the building was undergoing an extensive £35 million restoration following a previous fire in May 2014, in which 90% of the building and 70% of its contents were saved. The building was due to reopen sometime in 2019.

The restoration, which began in 2016, centered on the Mackintosh’s iconic library, using original wood species and historical documents. As part of the restoration, a fire suppression system was being installed which was reportedly weeks away from completion. In a cruel irony, large pumps needed for the water mist system had arrived at the construction site just one day before the fire.

After news that the art school would be rebuilt, recent drone footage and laser scans have revealed that parts of the facade have to be dismantled because they are unsafe, putting the future of the building in jeopardy.

The Mackintosh library at The Glasgow School of Art.
The Mackintosh designed library.
The Mackintosh library after the fire
The Mackintosh designed library after the second fire.

The school has produced many of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, including Douglas Gordon, Alison Watt, David Shrigley, along with three recent winners of the Turner Prize: Simon Starling, who won in 2005; Richard Wright, 2009; and Martin Boyce, 2011.

The building had attracted around 25,000 visitors each year before the 2014 blaze, with tours conducted by art school students. It is a tragedy that this storied institution has been devastated and we hope it will be returned to its former glory.

Mackintosh Building Gallery
Mackintosh Building Gallery
Mackintosh Building Furniture Gallery
Mackintosh Building Furniture Gallery

Worst case scenarios sometimes happen, and while insurance cannot always bring back what has been lost, It can help to restore what has been saved.

Call us at 800.921.1008 and visit ArtInsuranceNow.com to get an evaluation of your current policy or a free quote.

 

 

 

 

 

The Art Police

Detective Don Hrycyk , LAPD Art Theft Detail, shows a fake Jim Dine painting, left, and a fake Renoir painting “La Loge (also called Au Theatre)

If you believe Hollywood’s version, the average art thief has many gadgets, scales walls, and dances through laser beam alarm triggers to steal Rembrandts and Renoirs. But when Detective Don Hrycyk of the LAPD Art Theft Detail solves an art crime, the guilty party is usually a trusted friend or business associate of the victim, not Tom Cruise in a catsuit.

The problem isn’t always smart criminals, Many leave themselves vulnerable to opportunists, with state of the art alarm systems that are never turned on, treasures locked away in safes with the combination left in an unlocked drawer nearby. Detective Hrycyk has seen it all.

The Art Theft Detail was formed by the LAPD in 1983 in response to a rash of unsolved High-value art thefts. It was a smart decision as they have recovered $122,999,616 in artwork since 1993. It is the only law enforcement unit in the country dedicated to fighting art crimes full-time.

They investigate by publicizing thefts and staying in constant contact with local galleries, museums, auction houses, and collectors. They tackle everything from phony estate sales stocked with fake antiques to consignment fraud, home burglaries, art-related insurance scams, and occasionally dramatic heists.

Picasso’s 1937 drawing “Faune”, for example, was recovered back in 2001 after a man tried to sell his $100,000 “ugly painting” to Christie’s in Beverly Hills. An alert appraiser checked the LAPD website, saw the stolen work and called the police. Turns out the thief was a chauffeur who had broken into the house of his movie-producer boss.

Sometimes it isn’t a very happy ending though, sculptor Kewal Soni had a break in and lost a $10,000 sculpture that he worked on for a year. The burglar then took it to a metal recycling plant and sold it as scrap for a measly $9.10. Although later the thief was caught and convicted.

The importance of insuring your art cannot be overstated. Art is a passion for most and when you love something it’s natural to want to protect it. Allow us to help by providing easy to understand comprehensive insurance coverage for your artwork.

Already covered? Let us examine your current Artist’s, Collector’s, Dealer’s, Conservator’s, Gallery’s, or Museum’s policy. Maybe you’re overpaying, under protected or have the wrong coverages.

Our policies have diverse coverages to meet the specific requirements of the Art Community. We help clients select adequate coverage and to help mitigate potential exposures, we provide recommended loss control procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

The Butler Did It (a classic art-theft)

At the sprawling Bel-Air estate of oil tycoon Howard Keck, his wife Elizabeth often played cards in a side room decorated with fine art. One of the artworks hanging on the wall of this room was a painting by Swedish impressionist artist Anders Zorn (1860-1920) entitled I Fria Luften. For almost three months, Elizabeth felt a vague subliminal uneasiness about the painting that she just couldn’t put her finger on. Finally, she did put her finger on it – on the canvas itself, and suddenly realized she was touching a photograph rather than the oil painting that was supposed to be in the elaborate gilt frame.

The theft was an obvious inside job by a person who had regular access to the painting. Someone took a high-quality photo of the painting and then had a custom lab blow up the image so that it would exactly fit the existing space for the stretcher and frame.

Detectives learned that three months earlier, the family butler had unexpectedly quit his job with the Kecks. Rune “Roy” Gunnar Donell, 61-years old, who had been a faithful employee at the estate for 11 years, announced that he was leaving because he needed surgery. He and his wife Christina, who was a cook at the estate, left at the same time. Elizabeth offered to pay for Roy’s surgery if he and Christina would stay, but they refused. Elizabeth remembered that Roy, who was a Swedish national, often admired the Zorn painting and commented that it would bring a high price in Sweden.

With the assistance of Interpol and the Swedish police, detectives attempted to trace Roy’s activities during his frequent flights back home. Detectives learned that almost a year ago, Roy Donell had appeared at a Swedish auction house called Beijars Auktioner, Scandinavian Art and Antiques AB. Roy auctioned off a painting entitled Fete Gallante by French artist Sebastien Jacques Le Clerc. Elizabeth Keck was contacted and verified that she owned the Le Clerc painting which was given to her as a gift. After talking to detectives, she searched for it and discovered it was also missing.

Swedish authorities learned that after collecting his money for the painting, Roy showed the auctioneers a photograph of a painting entitled Kvinna Klaer Sitt Barn (Woman Dressing Her Child). Detectives learned this was another title for Zorn’s I Fria Luften oil painting. Roy told the auctioneers that if they were interested in purchasing it, he could come back with the painting. Six months later, Roy arrived in Sweden accompanied by a woman of Latin appearance. Roy was met at the airport by the directors of the Swedish Auctioneers Office. He had the Zorn painting with him and consigned it for sale through the same auction house. Based on the date that Roy arrived in Sweden with the painting, detectives calculated that the bogus photo reproduction of the painting had been hanging in the Keck residence for five months before the theft was discovered.

The painting sold at auction for $527,000. The money went to Roy Donell.

Detectives arrested Roy before he could flee the area. He was held on $500,000 bail. During a search of his West L.A. apartment, detectives found evidence of money transfers from the sale of art belonging to the Kecks. Cameras and negatives depicting paintings were found along with a paper identifying Roy as a freelance photographer. There was also a receipt from a storage yard in Redondo Beach. When detectives called the manager at the storage yard, they learned that Roy stored a 25-foot motor home at the location. Roy tried to convince the detectives that he sold the motor home.

When detectives served a search warrant on the motor home and shimmied through a side window, they found two additional blowup photos of the Zorn painting, similar to the one found in the frame. Detectives were surprised to find another blowup photo, the exact size of a painting hanging in the Keck residence. The painting was entitled Ducks on the Banks of a River by German artist Alexander Koester (1864-1932). Detectives quickly contacted Elizabeth Keck to make sure the original painting was still hanging on the wall. Luckily, it was. It appears that Roy, emboldened by the success of his two earlier “acquisitions,” was planning to remove still another painting from the Keck residence, replacing it with a photograph.

Roy Donell was prosecuted for two counts of grand theft. As the start of the trial approached, prosecutors had no idea what defense Roy could possibly wage to counter the avalanche of evidence against him. However, the District Attorney’s Office soon learned that Roy was going to use a novel tactic. The Kecks were embroiled in protracted divorce proceedings at the time of the theft. During the monthlong trial, Roy admitted selling the two paintings in Sweden but claimed he was acting as an agent for Elizabeth Keck to sell assets without Howard Keck’s knowledge. Roy claimed he gave most of the money to Elizabeth, keeping $90,000 as his commission.

Elizabeth declared Roy’s assertions as “ludicrous” that she would conspire with her butler to sell the paintings and then report her discovery of the stolen paintings to the police. But enough doubt had been placed in the minds of the jury for them to acquit Roy of the charges. Some jury members later stated that the prosecution had simply not proven the case against Roy “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the stringent burden of proof in criminal cases.

The Swedish government refused to return the paintings, claiming that according to Swedish law, the auction buyers had purchased the paintings in good faith.

We represent Insurance Companies to make it easy for you to protect the things you collect.

Homeowner’s insurance alone does not provide enough coverage for your treasured items. That’s why our collector’s policy is the perfect complement to your standard personal lines products. It enables you to protect the full value of your collections in the event of a total loss.

 

A Jackson Pollock gets public view restoration

Jackson Pollock’s painting Number 1, 1949, is a swirl of multi-colored paint, dripped, flung and slung across a 5-by-8-foot canvas. It’s a textured work — including nails and a trapped bee  — and in the nearly 70 years since its creation, it’s attracted a fair bit of dust, dirt and grime.

That’s where conservator Chris Stavroudis comes in: His job is to clean the painting using swabs, solvents, and tiny brushes. For the last several months, he’s been hard at work, once a week, in full view of the public, in a gallery at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Some high school students watched Stavroudis wield his swabs — they have to make their own Pollocks for school, and want to know how he painted.

“The canvas was put on the floor and dribbled on,” Stavroudis explains. “He used sticks and dipped them into house paint, enamel paint, and then dribbled the paint off the stick and onto the canvas.”

There are many different reasons for conservation and although many conservators work on behalf of insurance companies to repair accidental damages it doesn’t mean they don’t also insure the works while in their possession.

ArtInsuranceNow.com has designed coverages to meet the specific needs of conservators. We help clients select adequate coverage for items in their care, custody, and control for restoration or conservation.

We cover items while:
In transit, on premises, at a work site, scheduled, and unnamed locations. Insuring an art practice is more than just protecting premises and stock against damage or theft. We provide seamless and flexible coverage for business exposures, as well. Even our most basic coverage provides solid protection.

For comprehensive Fine-Art Insurance Coverage call us at 800.921.1008 and visit ArtInsuranceNow.com

When Fine-Art Meets Comic-Art

The influence of Comic-Art

It’s a trend that’s reflective of our times, with the record-setting box office of Avengers: Infinity War at a total of $1,813,732,959 in only 4 weeks! Comics as an art form is hugely popular, and we want to help protect those collections.

Most people debate whether to go with a painting or a photograph when filling an empty wall space. But lately, people are turning to something that reflects their pop culture interests, opting for art that depicts superheroes both well-known and obscure.

The appeal of these characters has gone mainstream in a big way, ensuring that vintage comic collections will continue to increase in value. With this increased popularity, there has also been more interest in collecting original comic book art. A popular cover of “Amazing Spider-Man” #328 pitting the title character against the Hulk by Todd McFarlane fetched $657,250 at auction in 2012, and a Sotheby’s Comic Art auction fetched $4.1 Million in 2015.

With the increasing values of this American Art Form comes the increasing exposure to theft and loss due to fire, floods, and damaging weather. We at Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. / ArtInsuranceNow.com provide Fine Art & Collectibles Insurance to give peace of mind to the avid collector and with over 60 years of experience under our belt, we can Insure your collection properly to fit your particular situation.

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$60,000 Jeff Koons’ Sculpture Destroyed at Amsterdam Exhibit.

One of Jeff Koons’ reflective “Gazing Balls” was shattered into pieces, after a curious visitor touched it in an Amsterdam church. The glass work was on display in an exhibition at Nieuwe Kerk (a 15th Century church known for its high-profile art exhibitions) when it was destroyed on the last day of the show.

In the “Gazing Ball” series the artist has taken 35 masterpieces, including Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa and Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait Wearing a Hat and had them repainted in oil on canvas, and added a little shelf, painted as if it had sprouted directly from the image and placed a blue glass orb upon them, as a follow-up to his 2013 series that balanced gazing balls on plaster sculptures.

The gazing ball was the centerpiece of the exhibition. A spokesperson for Nieuwe Kerk confirmed that a visitor had touched the glass ball, which immediately broke, leaving behind shards. The painting itself remains undamaged, and no one was injured.

Many risks are exposed to Fine Art during an exhibition, including those during the transportation of said Artwork. For the one-off or traveling exhibitions, we provide wall-to-wall coverage for items on display and in transit, this way your lenders can have the peace of mind that they are insured. Coverage can include:

Packing crates, catalogues & brochures, Items covered in transit, art in storage between transits, worldwide private & public venues, and touring shows. Coverage for items worth $50,000 up to $100,000,000

Nothing less than a comprehensive Fine Art policy supplied by trusted insurance broker ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. for your valued Artwork will do.

Visit us at https://www.artinsurancenow.com or call us at 800.921.1008

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