Monthly Archives: May 2017

Most Wanted: Stolen and Disappeared Works of Art

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Missing paintings, disappearing masterpieces, art stolen by Nazis: it sounds like the makings of an intense “Whodunnit?” game. But these “crimes of the century” all are too real, and happen more than you may realize.

The disappearances of some of history’s greatest artistic masterpieces have plagued crime scene investigators for decades. Original works by Picasso, Rembrandt, and Da Vinci (among others) have provided key targets for well-masterminded art heists and earned top spots in the stolen art database. But the motives behind these missing paintings are just as mysterious as the way in which they became missing in the first place.

Stolen Art: Picasso’s Le pigeon aux petis pois (The pigeon with green peas)


Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso is best known for his eccentric cubism style that contorted his subjects into sharp geometric lines but never quite crossed the lines of abstraction.

Though works like Femme assise and Violon are well known due to Picasso’s inherent style, his 1911 Le pigeon aux petis pois gained fame for a much different reason: it was stolen from Paris’ Musee d’Art Moderne in 2010.

A single thief managed to pull what is now considered as one of the biggest art heists ever. Five pieces, including Picasso’s, were removed from the museum. Investigators discovered that the motion detectors in the crime scene hadn’t been working for almost two months, when they were manually disabled by museum management.

The paintings have yet to be recovered. One suspect in the case claims he tossed the art into a trash can, but police have yet to verify the authenticity of the story.

Stolen Art: Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee


Reigning as the most famous Dutch painter in history, Rembrandt Harmenzoon van Rijn earned fame for his depictions of iconic people, scenery, and events.

But just as iconic as his style of portraits and conflict is his work titled The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, which was stolen with 12 other pieces in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Showcasing how Rembrandt envisioned Jesus easing the stormy seas, as depicted in the Bible, the theft is considered among the biggest unsolved stolen art cases in history.

The painting was the pinnacle of the famed Dutch room at the museum, situated directly across from a portrait of Rembrandt that was also taken.

And if you ever thought stolen art wasn’t something to take seriously, the FBI issued an unprecedented $5 million reward for clues leading to the recovery of these 12 works.

Missing Painting: Klimt’s Portrait of a Lady


Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is widely known for his paintings mostly concerning the female body. His famed oil painting titled Portrait of a Lady holds an unusual backstory.

It is believed that Klimt’s original painting displayed an entirely different person than the one hung in the Galleria Ricci-Oddi. Klimt is said to have had a love affair with her, but after her sudden death, he painted over her.

The painting disappeared in 1997 shortly before an exhibition at the Galleria. Though it was believed to be stolen at the time, Italian police cracked the case when they discovered an upscale forgery just two months later.

Art Stolen by Nazis: Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man


Famed Italian artist and architect Raphael (1483-1520) will forever be cemented in the annals of the Italian Renaissance, having completed numerous works of art before his passing at age 37.

His presumed self-portrait, titled Portrait of a Young Man, was stolen by Nazis and remains the most important painting missing from WWII. The painting was one of several rescued from the Czartoryski Museum at the onset of the Nazi invasion of Poland. Though it was hidden for a time at a home in Sieniawa, the Gestapo uncovered them and selected three works for Hitler’s personal collection.

In 1945, Hans Frank, a Hitler appointee, brought the portrait back to Germany to hang in the Wawel Castle. The paintings were moved to a couple different locations, but the case grows cold after Frank’s execution in 1946.

Recovered: Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa


Perhaps one of the most recognized names among both art critics and non-art communities is Leonardo da Vinci. Having delivered advancements to both science and art, da Vinci’s impact on the Italian Renaissance has earned him a top spot in art history.

But would da Vinci still warrant the same level of fame today if his prized Mona Lisa had never been recovered when it was stolen in 1911?

A single Louvre employee was responsible for this stolen art. Hiding in a broom closet during business hours, Vincenzo Peruggia tucked the painting under his coat and walked out after the museum had closed, with the intentions of returning the stolen art to its Italian motherland. He was caught two years later after attempting to sell the missing painting to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Salvaged: Munch’s The Scream


Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) created a definitive style that emphasized powerful depictions of psychological topics. These illustrations are best represented in his most famous work, The Scream, which has been the target of two separate thefts and multiple attempts.

The first occurred in 1994 on the opening day of the Olympics in Lillehammer. The thieves left a note saying “Thanks for the poor security,” and held the art for a $1 million ransom. The gallery refused to pay, and instead set up a sting with police. The thieves were caught only 3 months later, with no damage to the painting.

The second incident didn’t end as well as the first. Masked gunmen stole the painting, along with Munch’s Madonna, during daytime hours at the Munch Museum in Oslo. Six men stood trial for the missing painting, though the painting itself hadn’t been recovered.  Both pieces of stolen art were recovered two years later, but both had suffered some damage, though nothing major that couldn’t be repaired.

Recovered: Abela’s Carnaval Infantil (Children’s Carnival)

Cuban painter Eduardo Abela (1889-1965)was well known for his idyllic view on what life in the Cuba countryside should look like, as evidenced in his masterpiece Carnaval Infantil.

Interestingly, this missing works of art case ended before it had much time to begin. That is, Abela’s Carnaval Infantil was returned before it was found to be missing.

Art dealer Ramon Cernuda purchased the missing painting in a show in Miami, realizing after some research that the art belonged to a museum. Cernuda contacted the museum about the stolen art, which led to the museum’s discovery that they were missing 95 items from storage.

Cernuba planned to return the painting to the museum after the investigation and was also able to provide details on a few other missing works of art.

Recovered: Monet’s Beach in Pourville


French impressionist Claude Monet (1840-1926) may be most recognized for his rich blends of colors in nature. Master of oil-on-canvas, Monet’s highly acclaimed technique and masterpieces have given him a recognizable name among art connoisseurs and the casual observer.

His work, the Beach in Pourville, is one of many that represent his classic blends of color and texture. But its notoriety also stems from its disappearance from the Poznan National Museum in 2000. The thief cut the art from the frame and replaced it with a fake representation painted on cardboard. At the time of the heist, it was the only work of Monet in Poland on public display.

Police searched for 10 years before recovering the missing painting and apprehending the person whom they believed to have painted the copy.

Who will be the next stolen art victim?

Even some of the top art museums in the world have been plagued by missing paintings or stolen art. It’s not only important to take every precaution in protecting your art, but partnering with people who care as much about preserving art as you do.

Museo Vault is dedicated specifically to keeping your art investments safe and secure, whether it’s during shipping, storage, restoration, or crisis aversion. Contact us today to learn more about our white glove service that’s as much a work of art as the paintings we care for.

Miami Art Museums

Top 8 Must-See Art Museums in Miami

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In South Florida, particularly in Miami, there are a number of top-rated art museums that anyone can visit. Here, we’ll share a few with you so you know where to start on your trip through Miami’s many fine art museums.

Whatever your taste in art, the best museums in Miami have something that is sure to please. From contemporary works to sculptures, historical collections, photographs, and gardens, South Florida galleries have earned international recognition and praise for their varying works representing Miami culture and history. If you are planning a trip down to the southern coast for the happening nightlife and white-sand beaches, make sure you save a little bit of time to explore at least a couple of these top art museums in Miami.

1. Pérez Art Museum Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Known to the locals and frequent visitors as PAMM, the Perez Art Museum Miami, located between Arsht Center and the American Airlines Arena, is more than just a gallery of phenomenal modern and contemporary works of art. The facility offers interactive programs for families that include hands-on, art-inspired activities, music, and theatrical performances.

Notable upcoming events and exhibitions at Pérez Museum include:

  • May 18: Screening of Haitian film “Liberty in a Soup”
  • May 26: Exhibition by artist John Dunkley entitled “Neither Day nor Night”
  • June 8, 2017-April 8, 2018: Contemporary Cuban art exhibit of works from the Jorge M. Perez collection

Visitor Information

General admission to museum is $16 for adults and $12 for seniors, students, and youth. Every second Saturday and first Thursday of the month, admission is free for everyone. Self-parking is available to guests for $2 an hour in the PAMM garage, or patrons can choose to park in a nearby public lot.

2. The Bass Museum of Art

The Bass Museum of Art

The Bass Museum is an international contemporary art museum in Miami Beach showcasing established artists who incorporate the local culture into their work. Much of the focus of the museum is education, and The Bass offers a special program teaching young children about creativity and personal growth through art. It opened its doors in 1964, and was the first public art exhibition space in South Florida. The facility is composed of a store, café, educational facility, and multiple galleries, which include temporary exhibits from artists from around the world, as well as a portion of the original Bass collection.

Upcoming events at the Bass Museum of Art include:

  • July 17-Aug. 18: Children’s summer art camp for kids ages 4 to 12
  • Fall 2017: “Good Evening Beautiful Blue” exhibition by Swiss mixed-media artist Ugo Rondinone
  • Fall 2017: Pascale Marthine Tayou presents “Beautiful” exhibit

Visitor Information

The museum is temporarily closed for renovations, but will be open to the public again in the fall of 2017. Until its reopening, art enthusiasts are invited to visit the Miami Beach Regional Library on 22nd Street to view a temporary exhibition space.

3. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

MOCA is located in North Miami and was founded in 1981 to bring the best of contemporary art and its history to underserved audiences. The facility presents work from newly discovered artists, examines the influence of masters in the space, and educates the public on the area’s culture. Eight to 10 exhibits come to the museum each year, including three galleries or multi-media presentations from up-and-coming or experimental artists. MOCA showcases these temporary exhibits throughout the year, as well as about 600 permanent works that live at the museum full time.

Interesting events happening at MOCA in the coming months include:

  • June 8-Aug. 6: South Florida Cultural Consortium with an artists reception June 15
  • June 12-Aug. 18: Five 2-week sessions of summer camp for children with Dynamic Design and Creative Arts classes
  • Sept. 7-Nov. 5: “Caribbean Contempo” exhibit from Edouard Duval-Carrie, with an artist reception Sept. 14

Visitor Information

MOCA is open Tuesday through Friday and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and free for children under 12, MOCA members, North Miami residents, veterans, and city employees. Free parking is offered to the east, west and south sides of the museum, which is located between NE 7th Avenue and NE 8th Avenue on NE 125th Street.

4. Lowe Art Museum

Lowe Art Museum

Nestled right in the middle of the University of Miami’s campus, Lowe Art Museum is home to a variety of Native American, ancient Egyptian, Renaissance and Baroque, Asian, and European originals. The facility opened in 1950, when it began as a display crossing three classrooms. It is the oldest art museum in Miami. Top works in the 17,500-piece collection include paintings from Claude Monet, African sculptures from 500 BCE, Asian costumes, medieval manuscripts, and the Samuel H. Kress Collection.

If you are visiting Lowe in the next few months, check out the following events and exhibits:

  • May 17: Sip & Sketch class with University of Miami professor Jackie Gopie
  • June 22: Opening reception for Walter Wick exhibit “Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic”
  • Until April 1, 2018: ArtLab @ the Lowe featuring works surrounding a fish theme

Visitor Information

Lowe Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of general admission for anyone over the age of 12 is $12.50, while students and seniors are admitted for $8. Children under 12, Lowe members, UM students/staff, and military personnel can visit the museum for free. The facility is located about 5 miles south of Miami in Coral Gables.

5. Gary Nader Art Centre

Gary Nader Art Centre

Named for Dominican art expert Gary Nader, the Art Centre has been promoting Latin American artwork since 1985. It is the biggest private gallery in the world at 55,000 square feet of exhibitions, which include Nader’s private collection, Sculpture Park, and the Exhibition Gallery.

Presentations include pieces from renowned international modern and contemporary artists, such as:

  • Andy Warhol
  • Claude Monet
  • Henri Matisse
  • Wilfredo Lam
  • Fernando Botero
  • Pablo Picasso

Visitor Information

Gary Nader’s museum is located in Midtown in the Wynwood Art District, just north of downtown Miami. The gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free for everyone.

6. Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Art Walk

Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Art Walk

The warehouse district of Wynwood was revamped into a magnificent street-art display in 2009. All the windowless buildings became canvases for some of the best graffiti artists from around the world. Over 50 artists from 16 countries have created murals on more than 80,000 square feet of the Wynwood Walls. Along with the street art, the Wynwood district is home to more than 60 art galleries. To encourage visitors to discover the many works exhibited, the second Saturday of every month gives people the opportunity to explore the Miami art scene, as well as enjoy food trucks, live music, and local restaurants.

Visitor Information

If you are interested in guided tours of the Wynwood Art District, there are a few options at different price points, either by foot or cart. When exploring the art walk on your own, the prime area for viewing is between 20th Street and 36th Street, from NW 2nd Avenue to NE 2nd Avenue. Parking on the street is easiest before 7 p.m., but the best time to walk Wynwood is between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

7. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

ICA Miami has been delivering unique and exploratory contemporary art to the local community since 2014 through a variety of exhibition galleries. Its permanent collection includes paintings, sculptures, mixed media, photography, and video, among others, from significant artists. The Miami art museum also runs multiple interactive educational programs:

  • ICA Ideas: Provides greater meaning to the exhibits on display at the museum while promoting creativity and interaction outside of presentations
  • ICA Speaks: Features artists from the museum’s permanent collection of works and encourages exchanging art and ideas
  • ICA Performs: Allows performance artists to debut original works and cultivates new creative expressions
  • ICA Residents: Makes connections between innovative organizations, artists, and the community to boost public programs and drive new ideas

Visitor Information

The museum is currently located in the Moore Building off of NE 2nd Avenue, but will be moving to a new home in Miami’s Design District Dec. 1 of this year. The facility will include more than 20,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 15,000 square-foot public sculpture garden. The next major exhibition at ICA is “The Everywhere Studio,” which is a collection of about 100 pieces from more than 50 artists. The exhibit begins Dec. 1, 2017, and runs until Feb. 26, 2018, at the new location. Admission to ICA is always free.

8. Rubell Family Collection

Rubell Family Collection

The types of work on display as part of the Rubell Family Collection include photography, painting, conceptual art, and sculpture. The museum was established in 1964 in New York City, but was moved to a former DEA confiscation center in 1993 by Jason and Jennifer Rubell. It is one of the world’s biggest private contemporary art collections and features work from internationally-known artists, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Schedule your trip to see the Rubell Collection during one of the current exhibitions:

  • Until Aug. 25, 2017: “High Anxiety: New Acquisitions”
  • Until Aug. 25, 2017: “New Shamans/Novos Xamas: Brazillian Artists”

Visitor Information

The Rubell location in the Wynwood Art District is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and offers a free tour at 3 p.m. each day. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for military members and children under 18.

With so many fantastic art museums and galleries in Miami, it’s no wonder its art scene is quickly making a name for itself. Visit one of these memorable options on your next trip to South Florida for an experience that is sure to impress.