Category Archives: Unique Stories pertaining to Art

I come across stories about incidents in the Art world which I think of being Note worthy. Check them out..

How to Light Art in Your New Home

When you move into a new home, you want everything to look perfect. However, if you’re going to appropriately light art in your new home, you might want some assistance. It’s good to know your options in terms of light sources, fixtures, etc. Besides offering you tips on hanging art in your house, we will also show you how to light it. Keep reading to find out how you can make your new home look like an art gallery. Your guests will be impressed by your ability to create eye-catching effects using art and light. 

Why should you light artwork?

If you feel that simply hanging art on your walls is not enough, you can use light to your advantage. For instance, you can use it to accentuate a piece of art by putting it in the spotlight. But you can’t just place a light bulb above it and call it quits. You need to consider the light’s angle, the type of light, and the quality. Moreover, never use fluorescent light bulbs or direct sunlight. Improper lighting can destroy a piece of art. And it is a shame to spend money on fine art only to have it ruined by such a small but essential detail. 

Displaying art in your new home

If you have recently moved into a new house, create a design strategy before displaying any of your art pieces. Your walls are empty and just waiting for you to fill them. Therefore, before bringing in your artwork, think of the layout. The experts from recommend that you finish with renovations before bringing in any valuable items. That way, you will keep them safe and avoid any unfortunate accidents while you work on upgrading your home.

After all of the furniture is in place, you can hang art on the walls and illuminate it

How to display art

When it comes to showcasing your art pieces, there is a guideline that you can follow. Of course, you can always change things to fit your home better. For instance, if you have a painting that you want to make the centerpiece of a room, but there is no space on the walls, you can put it above the fireplace. If you hang it on the wall, the center of the painting should be 57 inches from the ground. If you place it above furniture, there should be six to eight inches between the art and furniture. 

Also, if you want to make a collage out of multiple pieces on one wall, you should leave a three-to-six-inch gap between them. You can break the rules of displaying art in your home and enhance any room with artwork. For example, you can hang paintings in the bathroom or display sculptures in the kitchen or dining room. Just make sure that you protect your artwork from humidity and sunlight.

What type of light to use for your art

There are two factors to consider regarding the sort of light you should use to light art in your new home. One of them is the color, and the other is the temperature. 

Light color

The color of light can affect the look of the artwork. Light will reflect on its surface, altering the tones and making it look brighter or darker. The best way to choose the right color of the light is to use the Color Rendering Index or CRI. According to this index, you can measure the color of light in RA. The closest thing to natural light is light bulbs with an RA of 98. LEDs are some of the best lightbulbs that you can use to light artwork. LED lamps with an RA of 90 and above are perfect for lighting art pieces.

Light temperature

You can measure the temperature of light in Kelvins. At 1000K, the light is warm, but at 10.000K, it is cold. Opt for LEDs with a Kelvin temperature range of 2700 to 4000. That will offer a light temperature range from extra warm to cold. Also, always choose white light bulbs. That way, you will have the best combination of color and temperature.

Choosing how to light art in your new home is very important. Based on the color and temperature of the light, you can make a dull painting look like a masterpiece. 

Types of lighting fixtures

After you find the best light bulbs for lighting your artwork, it’s time to pick the light fixtures. Here are four fixtures that can help you highlight your art:

Accent lights – you can mount them onto the ceiling and adjust the direction. The best positioning of the light source for an art piece is at a 30-degree angle. 

Track lights – these lights have almost the same function as accent lights, but they are not mounted directly onto the ceiling. They are adjustable and fastened to a track bar on the ceiling.

Wall washers – you can install these light fixtures on the walls, ceilings, or floors, and they will help you spread light evenly. Furthermore, they are easy to install and remove, so it will be easy to change their position if you decide to change the layout.

Picture lights – are the best option you can use to light art in your new home. You can mount picture lights right on the frames or use a picture light lamp with a low voltage above an art piece. In the end, you can choose your light fixtures based on the type of artwork you are displaying. For example, a sculpture can be lit from multiple angles, while a photograph needs a specific angle. Before installing the lights, bring in the art pieces and position them. If you are in New York and need a helping hand with moving your artwork, you can hire a local moving company. A local crew can be super helpful when relocating your valuable pieces.

Choosing the right fixtures can add to the charm of the room

Final words

Now that you know how to light art in your new home, you need to insure your art. Art insurance will keep your pieces safe in case of hazards like fires or floods – having your art insured will help you sleep peacefully at night.

Water- A Serious Peril to Works of Art

AXA ART Presents Damages from Hurricane Sandy at its Lounge during 2013 AIPAD Photography Show New York

Serves to reinforce the importance of Disaster Preparedness

NEW YORK – (April 4, 2013) – Next to oxygen, water is the most essential element of human life. However, it is a serious threat to objects of art. according to AXA ART’s Fine Art Expert, Matthew Knight. “Water can be hazardous to works of art in many forms. Whether from excessive humidity, accidental pipe burst (which the insurance industry defines as “falling water”) or from mother nature’s fury in the form of heavy rains or coastal flooding (defined as “rising water”); the presence of water has proven to be very damaging to all artworks, especially photographs”.  Knight goes on to say, however, “The risks can be reduced by carrying out simple precautions and having emergency disaster plans in place.”

Nowhere was water’s damaging effects to works of art more evident than from the unprecedented and costly super-storm, Hurricane Sandy. AXA ART had chosen a casualty of this storm for presentation at its lounge during the 2013 AIPAD Show.  On display were damaged photographs, To Fight with Crossed Arms, 2007, ed 4/5, by prolific Chinese contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei.

Christiane Fischer, President & CEO of AXA Art in the Americas observed, “Sandy was the costliest event for the art insurance industry by far and we are now living in a post-Sandy world. We all will need to adjust our disaster planning strategies to protect important works such as To Fight with Crossed Arms from becoming victims of water damage”.

Over its more than 50 years of operation, AXA ART has seen and settled a variety of natural disaster claims internationally.  The global art insurance specialist advises that while some accidental damages can neither be foreseen nor deterred,  there are practical steps that can be applied to prevent the total destruction of works of art whether on display, in transit or in storage. Key components in the planning strategies of collectors’ and galleries’ should include evacuation and catastrophe preparedness as well as maintaining proper storage for art collections and inventories.  “Ultimately our goal is to support collectors as they seek to safeguard the value and longevity of their collections”, Fischer concluded.

Reference AXA ART’s  Collection Management Series for general information gathered from conservators and worldwide expert partners on caring for collections.  For more detailed information on protecting your possessions, AXA ART’s Claims and Risk Management teams are available resources: 


The AIPAD Photography Show ran, April 4 – 7, 2013 at the Park Avenue Amory, 643 Park Avenue, New York City.

Note to Editor:
To Fight with Crossed Arms, depicts Ai Weiwei’s allegorical self-portraits as curator, artist, architect, and critic. The title, derived from a Marcel Duchamp quote about facing an enemy with nothing more than crossed arms, refers to diverting political persecutions and tactics with the neutrality of a stoic non-combatant stance. This collaborative approach with artists/architects, MAP Office (a Hong Kong-based duo), seeks to express a shared rejection of artistic and political oppression without revealing the game.

About AXA Art
International reach, unrivaled competence and a high-quality network of expert partners distinguish AXA ART, the only art insurance specialist in the world, from its generalist property insurance competitors. Over the past 50 years and well into the future, AXA ART has and will continue to redefine the manner in which it serves and services its museum, gallery, collector, and artist clients across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, with a sincere consideration of the way valuable objects are insured and cultural patrimony, is protected. In addition, AXA ART invests in risk-prevention awareness and cutting-edge conservation techniques as a measure to protect and preserve cultural heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit

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Jasper Johns’ Assistant Accused of Swiping $6.5 Million Worth of Art

President Barack Obama awards medal of freedom to Jasper Johns
On February 15, 2011, Jasper Johns became the first painter or sculptor to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom since Alexander Calder in 1977. President Barack Obama presenting the award.

This is a great reason we recommend Fidelity Bonds to our Clients.

Kahn, Robert “Jasper Johns’ Assistant Accused of Swiping $6.5 Million Worth of Art” – Courthouse News Service

MANHATTAN (CN) – A longtime studio assistant to Jasper Johns swiped at least 22 artworks from Johns’ Connecticut studio and pocketed $3.4 million by selling them through a Manhattan gallery without the artist’s knowledge or permission, federal prosecutors say.

The Manhattan gallery, which is not named as a defendant, sold the unauthorized works for $6.5 million, from which James Meyer took his cut, the U.S. attorney says in the grand jury indictment.
The United States unsealed a two-count grand jury indictment against James Meyer, accusing him of interstate transportation of stolen property and wire fraud.
Meyer worked for Johns in the artist’s studio in Sharon, Conn., for more than 25 years, according to the 8-page indictment.

Jasper Johns Three Flags Art Image
Three Flags By Jasper Johns – Whitney Museum of American Art, Fair use,

“While so employed, Meyer supported Johns in his creation of certain art at the Johns Studio, and had certain administrative responsibilities, including, among others, maintaining a studio file drawer containing pieces of art that were not yet completed by Johns and not authorized by Johns to be placed in the art market (the ‘Unauthorized Works’).

The indictment states “From at least in or about September 2006, up to and including at least in or about February 2012, James Meyer, the defendant, removed at least twenty-two (22) individual pieces of the Unauthorized Works from the studio file drawer he was responsible for maintaining, and from elsewhere in the Johns Studio, and caused those pieces to be transported from the Johns Studio in Sharon, Connecticut to an art gallery located in Manhattan, New York (the ‘Gallery’) for the purpose of selling those works in the art market without the knowledge or permission of Johns.

“In furtherance of his scheme to defraud, James Meyer, the defendant, represented to the owner of the Gallery (the ‘Gallery Owner’), and others, that each of these Unauthorized Works had been given to him as gifts by Johns when, in truth and in fact and as Meyer well knew, Johns never transferred ownership of those pieces to Meyer and never gave permission for those works to leave the Johns Studio.”

Nevertheless, Meyer provided sworn, notarized certifications to the Gallery Owner and others, stating, among other things, that these pieces were authentic works of Johns, that the art had .been given to him by Johns directly, that he was the rightful owner of these works, and that he had the right to sell each piece. Meyer conditioned the sale of the Unauthorized Works on the signed agreement by the purchaser that the art would be kept private for at least eight (8) years, during which time it would not be loaned, exhibited, or re-sold.

Detail of Flag (1954–55). Museum of Modern Art, New York City. This image illustrates Johns' early technique of painting with thick, dripping encaustic over a collage made from found materials such as newspaper. This rough method of construction is rarely visible in photographic reproductions of his work. Fair use,
Detail of Flag (1954–55). Museum of Modern Art, New York City. This image illustrates Johns’ early technique of painting with thick, dripping encaustic over a collage made from found materials such as newspaper. This rough method of construction is rarely visible in photographic reproductions of his work. Fair use,


“As a further part of his scheme to defraud, James Meyer, the defendant, created fictitious inventory numbers for the Unauthorized Works and/or assigned to the Unauthorized Works registration numbers belonging to other pieces completed by Johns, to create the appearance that the pieces were finished works authorized by Johns to be sold in the market. However, in truth and in fact and as Meyer well knew, the Unauthorized Works were not ready for release and had not been assigned those inventory numbers by Johns or any member of his staff.

“As a further part of his scheme to defraud, James Meyer, the defendant, created fake pages for certain of the Unauthorized Works that appeared as if they were included in a 3-ring loose-leaf ledger book maintained at the Johns Studio of registered pieces of art, and that purported to show both the inventory number assigned to the work and the fact that the work had been ‘gifted to James Meyer.’ At various times, Meyer took photographs of these fake pages in the ledger book, which he sent via e-mail to the Gallery Owner, and which the Gallery Owner thereafter transmitted by interstate e-mails to prospective buyers for certain of the Unauthorized Works to alleviate concerns about the provenance (i.e., the history of ownership of a work of art) of the piece.

“As a further part of his scheme to defraud, James Meyer, the defendant, blatantly misrepresented to the Gallery Owner, and others, that certain of the Unauthorized Works would be included in an upcoming catalogue raisonné (i.e., a monograph providing a comprehensive list of artworks by an artist, describing the works in a way so that they may be reliably identified by third parties) of Johns’ works. However, in truth and in fact and as Meyer well knew, as unfinished pieces, none of the Unauthorized Works would appear in any such compilation.

“Over the course of his almost six-year scheme to defraud, James Meyer, the defendant, caused the Gallery Owner to sell twenty-two (22) of the Unauthorized Works on his behalf for a total of approximately $6.5 million. In connection with these sales, Meyer caused the Gallery Owner to remit approximately $3.4 million in sales proceeds to him via check or wire transfer, which funds were deposited in Meyer’s account at a bank located in Connecticut.
Prosecutors seek forfeiture of ill-gotten gains and/or substitute assets.
Meyer, 51, was released on $50,000 bond and ordered to stay away from Johns, according to NBC News.

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Theft of the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam

From the Huffington Post:

BUCHAREST, Romania — It may be a case of art to ashes – and scientists are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.

A Romanian museum official said Wednesday that ash from the oven of a woman whose son is charged with stealing seven multimillion-dollar paintings – including a Matisse, a Picasso and a Monet – contains paint, canvas and nails.

The finding is evidence that Olga Dogaru may have been telling the truth when she claimed to have burned the paintings, which were taken from a Dutch museum last year in a daring daylight heist.

Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, director of Romania’s National History Museum, told The Associated Press that museum forensic specialists had found “small fragments of painting primer, the remains of canvas, the remains of paint” and copper and steel nails, some of which pre-dated the 20th century.

“We discovered a series of substances which are specific to paintings and pictures,” he said, including lead, zinc and azurite.

He refused to say definitively that the ashes were those of seven paintings stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal gallery last year, because he said it was not his position to do so. He said justice officials would make that decision.

He did venture, however, that if the remains were those of the paintings, it was “a crime against humanity to destroy universal art.”

“I can’t believe in 2013 that we come across such acts,” he said.

Oberlander-Tarnoveanu said forensic specialists at the museum have been analyzing ashes from Dogaru’s stove since March, and will hand their results to prosecutors next week.

The seven paintings were stolen last October in the biggest art heist to hit the Netherlands for more than a decade. Thieves broke in through a rear emergency exit of the gallery, grabbed the paintings off the wall and fled, all within two minutes.

The stolen works have an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars if they were sold at auction. Thieves took Pablo Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin Head”; Claude Monet’s 1901 “Waterloo Bridge, London” and “Charing Cross Bridge, London”; Henri Matisse’s 1919 “Reading Girl in White and Yellow”; Paul Gauguin’s 1898 “Girl in Front of Open Window”; Meyer de Haan’s “Self-Portrait” of around 1890; and Lucian Freud’s 2002 work “Woman with Eyes Closed.”

Three Romanian suspects were arrested in January, but the paintings have not been found.

Romanian prosecutors say Olga Dogaru – whose son is the alleged heist ringleader – claims she buried the art in an abandoned house and then in a cemetery in the village of Caracliu. She said she later dug the paintings up and burned them in February after police began searching the village for the stolen works.

Prosecutors have not said whether they believe her account, but Pavel Susara, a Romanian art critic, said the story has the ring of truth.

“Olga Dogaru describes how she made the fire, put wood on it and burned the paintings, like she was burning a pair of slippers,” he said. “She’s either a repressed writer or she is describing exactly what she did.”

And now the museum staff have found exactly what forensic experts say they were seeking – materials such as canvas, wood, staples, and paints that indicate the ashes were the remains of artworks.

The next step would be to compare them to what is known about the missing paintings, which given their quality and status would be well-documented in photographs and condition reports.

“If one finds general similarities between the stolen works and the burned (remains), then one could test the elemental – and possibly chemical – composition of the burned `works’ to determine if they could be consistent with the stolen works,” said James Martin of Orion Analytical, LLC, who has taught forensic paint analysis at the FBI Academy Counter-terrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit.

Art market experts said the Rotterdam thieves may have discovered what many art thieves have before them – that easily identifiable paintings by famous artists are extremely difficult to sell at anything like their auction value.

“Criminals who are successful in their usual endeavors are often undone by a foray into art theft,” said Robert Korzinek, a fine art underwriter at insurer Hiscox. “They steal these works of art … and then they have the problem that they can’t dispose of them.”

That means many works suffer ignominious fates. Some are lost forever. Others turn up after years of being buried or stashed in storage. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” stolen from an Oslo museum in 2004, was recovered in 2006, water damaged and torn. Police have never offered details on the painting’s whereabouts during those two years.

Chris Marinello of the Art Loss Register, which specializes in tracking down stolen artworks, said that if Olga Dogaru is telling the truth, “this isn’t the first time the mothers of art thieves have come to the rescue of their son.”

One famous case involved a prolific French criminal named Stephane Breitwieser, who stole more than 200 works from small museums across Europe in the late 1990s.

His mother admitted destroying dozens of the works after police began investigating her son, cutting up paintings, stuffing the remnants down her garbage disposal and throwing valuable jewels and other antiquities into a canal.

She was arrested after some of them resurfaced. “Old Masters were washing up on the bank,” Marinello said.

More than 100 works were recovered from the mud and restored, but much of what Breitwieser stole was lost forever.

Mariette Maaskant, spokeswoman for Rotterdam’s Kunsthal, said Olga Dogaru’s allegation “underscores the pointlessness of the theft.”

“If this terrible news is true, then the last trace of hope that the art works would return is definitively gone,” she said. “It would be a loss that touches every art lover.”

Perhaps the only positive note is that, if Dogaru hoped to destroy the evidence, she likely failed.

“Almost everything nowadays leaves a trace,” said Marinello.


Jill Lawless reported from London. Associated Press Writer Michael Corder in The Hague contributed to this report.