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The restoration, which began in 2016, centered on the Mackintosh’s iconic library, using original wood species and historical documents.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.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother, daughter wreak havoc at Art Museum

 

Museum officials say a mother and daughter destroyed a sculpture while visiting an exhibit named “Fair and Square,” at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, PA. The sculpture features children’s toys and a life-sized swing set that has been welded to resemble the scales of justice.

The women mistook the sculpture for an interactive piece and pulled the swings down to ride them. Artist Sean Matthews says the piece took two years to create, and is insured for $5000. It is unclear if the women will pay for the damage. The artist is waiting to see if he will be reimbursed.

“I looked away for a moment and then, boom, it’s down,” museum director Alice Anne Schwab says. “The swings were swinging … We were just devastated. Schwab said the two then walked to a different section of the museum and picked up pieces of a different art installation despite signage telling visitors not to touch anything.

These are the risk exposures when an exhibition is open to public view. ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer and Sons Inc. helps to mitigate those risks by providing coverage to Artist’s, Museums, Galleries, Collector’s, and Dealer’s.

Call us at 800.921.1008 to receive a competitive quote for comprehensive coverage that includes transit, multiple locations and more.  You can also visit us at www.ArtInsuranceNow.com.

 

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

Art vandal slashes $3 million painting, is vandalism covered?

A British man has been accused of slashing a multi-million dollar painting in an art gallery in Aspen, Colorado, last year.

Surveillance footage shows a bearded man in a hat and sunglasses saunter into the Opera Gallery, lay down a plank to block the doors from shutting fully, head straight toward the painting, then slash its bottom-right corner twice.

In May, Aspen Police identified Nicholas Morley, a 40-year-old British businessman, as the perpetrator. He has been charged with felony criminal mischief and a Colorado judge has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Morley flew from London to Denver with a false name a day before the slashing, rented a car from the airport, and flew back to London two days after committing the crime, The Aspen Times reported, citing court documents.

As It turns out, Morley’s father, Harold, owned the $3 million painting through a holding company in Barbados that traded art.

In a situation like this what is covered? what is not? Fine Art’s risk exposure while on display is something that all artists, gallerists, and collectors should consider and insure accordingly.

 

William Fleischer, CIC and Principal of Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. explains further: “Most Art Insurance policies will cover Vandalism, but, how the values are determined is what I’d like to focus on here. If you are an Art Dealer, Art Collector or an Artist, the consignment agreement drives the answer to this question.”

  1. Almost all Art Dealer Policies value the art based on the agreed net consignment amount to be paid if sold +10% for the dealer’s commission. The check is made to the dealer.
  2. If you are a collector and have your own Insurance policy, then the valve would be either what is scheduled on your policy or the Market Value at the time of loss either way you would receive a higher payout than the dealer’s policy would pay out.
  3. If you are an Artist, and purchase our special artist’s policy, your Art is valued, better than a dealer’s policy, not at net consignment amount, but Market value minus 30%

When displaying art in public spaces, know your exposures and insure for them accordingly. A knowledgeable art insurance broker like Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. / ArtInsuranceNow.com can guide you to peace of mind and help protect the things you are passionate about.

Call us at 800.921.1008 or visit ArtInsuranceNow.com for a free quote to protect your artworks.

Caught on camera! Banksy print stolen

Watch the theft take place!

 

How secure is your artwork on loan? Is it really “insured”?

Police are investigating the theft of a Banksy print from an exhibit curated by the artist’s former manager. The Art of Banksy exhibit – curated by his former manager Steve Lazarides, but reportedly not endorsed by the artist – opened in a Toronto industrial building dressed up as an art gallery, as part of a larger North American run.

Every dealer’s insurance policy is unique, all have exclusion, conditions and limits.  some have handling warranties, alarm warranties, unpacking warranties, storage warranties.  Many have very high deductibles, and no transit coverage.  Most have exclusions for water damage, vandalism, mold, fire and theft. My advice to the collector is DO NOT Trust the gallery’s or anybody’s insurance coverage.

Buy your own policy, know your coverages and know that if anything does happen, the decision how to handle the loss is with you and most importantly, the check is made directly to you!

When loaning art for display, be sure to have the proper coverage. ArtInsuranceNow.com policies are tailored to cover works of art while on or off premises, in transit, storage, in exhibition, in a museum, auction house, and worldwide.

Call us at 800.921.1008 and visit ArtInsuranceNow.com to learn more and get a free quote by clicking below.

 

Chelsea Art Galleries catch fire.

A Chelsea, NY building that’s home to several art galleries caught fire while the spaces were open for business, FDNY officials said. The one-alarm blaze broke out inside the Paula Cooper Gallery on the top floor of the two-story building that houses several other Art Galleries including the Tina Kim and Tanya Bonakdar Galleries. Following the inferno, people could be seen moving out wet boxes from the building and other items like chairs wrapped in plastic.

People rarely expect worst-case scenarios but as insurance professionals we have seen it happen too many times, the question we’d like to ask is “are you covered?”  Art Galleries give artists the space they need to exhibit their craft, gain exposure and sell art. And we provide value in knowing if something goes awry, the work is Insured.

Due to the nature of Art in a gallery, Gallery insurance is essential. Risk exposures such as unexpected events like fire, flood, earthquakes, and storms, can cause extreme damage to the building and its contents. Manage these risks by obtaining a gallerist insurance policy offered by ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc.

Call us at 800.921.1008 or visit ArtInsuranceNow.com by clicking the link below.

 

5-Year-old destroys $132,000 Art Sculpture

5-year-old Kansas boy knocks over $132,000 art sculpture on display at a local community center. Surveillance video captured the little boy reaching for the sculpture, called “Aphrodite di Kansas City” on display in the lobby of the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas when it toppled over.

“It was a piece that was loaned to us that we are responsible for. That’s public money,” Sean Reilly, a spokesperson for the City of Overland Park said. “We are responsible to protect the public investment.”

“The public investment” could have easily been protected with a policy from ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. Our customized insurance policies are geared toward your typical Art Galleries, Museums, Exhibition space, and Dealer businesses.  We combine General Liability and Public Liability (Bodily Injury and Property Damage) into one straightforward policy.

Don’t wait until a loss occurs to learn more. Call us at 800.921.1008 or visit us at 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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