26 09 / 2022

The 4 accidents of art masterpieces in history

The biggest accident to fine art is breakage, and a lot of it comes from mishandling or inappropriate shipping and packing. The preparation required many people and factors such as an art handler, a crane, a truck, equipment, days of packing, and etc.

Many times, an accident happens during its shipping, or it comes from an artwork has been inappropriately hung and it falls off the wall, these are creating a huge claim. The resources and planning required to safely transport art are as well known to insurers as the potential damages inherent in the process, Approximately 60 percent of insurance claims for damaged art are related to its transport; global art history includes many stories of damaged or lost masterpieces. Let’s see 4 accidents and damage that happen to art masterpieces in the past.

1 Mona Lisa

In 1963, negotiated by then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the agreement for the Louvre to ship the legend “Mona Lisa” to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. on loan was highly controversial at the time. Despite the uproar and subsequent scare when a malfunctioning sprinkler nearly soaked the iconic da Vinci portrait at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the excitement generated by its exhibition tour inspired other collectors and museums to begin sharing great works.

2 Portrait of an Elderly Woman by Rembrandt

In 2001, Rembrandt’s “Portrait of an Elderly Woman,” painted circa 1640, was accidentally slashed when dropped en route from Moscow to Houston.

3 ‘Le Peintre’ by Picasso

In 1998 a horrific plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean, claimed the lives of over two hundred passengers and destroyed Picasso’s 1963 painting “Le Peintre,” which was in the cargo hold.

4  Jean-Michel Basquiat

In February 2019, a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting worth over $110 million was damaged when children threw Corn Flakes and milk at it while it was on display on a yacht. Displaying priceless art and antiques aboard yachts is a popular practice.

Or even a billionaire Steve Wynn, who has owned two Picasso paintings damaged while on display: one when Wynn put his elbow through it, and the other in unexplained circumstances in a gallery. There are also many accident that is not report here. While incidents involving renowned masterpieces garner widespread coverage, lesser-known but still precious pieces of art also sustain damage from being displayed and transported. In particular, privately-owned works shown in collectors’ homes or in other private venues face unexpected risks.

The solution?

The suggestion for people who purchase fine art is to protect their art investment when they have options. Specialized insurance companies have an offers in providing risk management to collectors, it can help owners avoid hazards where the piece of art are more likely to suffer damage. Coverage and policy assessments take the artwork’s location into account. Many privately-owned artworks are loaned to galleries and museums, either permanently or temporarily. Make sure that the (display) destination is a covered location under your policy, and make sure that the people who are handling your art—packers, shippers and galleries— knows about the proof of insurance.

Document and track your collection

Collectors should maintain a complete data of their artwork, they should have their artwork appraised every three to five years, so increases in value can be recorded. Some policies also provide some flexibility in terms of how much of an artwork’s value it can cover, some cover up to 150 percent, so it is important to understand the terms of the company policy. Art collecting can be a smart financial investment as well as personally fulfilling; however, consult the professional provider to be certain your investment is protected in the event of loss or damage.


But accidents could happen at any time no matter how careful you pay attention. Therefore, art risk management is an important decision to consider to mitigate the risks. These are what make art services from JWD Art Space different from others. Our art services cover a wide range of artistic services, whether storage, shipping, transportation, art-install, and others. Wouldn’t it be better to have an expert to assist you? You may consider a consultation with JWD Art Space beforehand, we offer you the art solutions that will make your life much easier.

Source: https://www.burnsandwilcox.com/60-percent-of-art-damage-claims-arise-from-transport/

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