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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The art and culture of Greater Miami and its beaches are an eclectic blend of contemporary art, seascapes and nature art, and a rich Afro-Cuban influence that brings color and vibrancy to it all. In public parks and buildings there are over 700 works of stunning talent and elegant grace. Miami art museums are internationally recognized and praised for their variety. Here are 8 art museums in Miami that you must visit.

1. Pérez Art Museum Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami

The PAMM is much more than just a building that holds a collection of art, it is a reflection of its community. The Pérez Art Museum Miami was the first of the art museums in Miami to embrace modern and contemporary art. The exhibits continually change as the diverse culture of Miami evolves.

PAMM is a vibrant part of the community, offering not only the opportunity to view fine art, dance, and musical exhibitions, but also educational programs such as:

  • After school programming for teens
  • A Baby and Me Tour
  • Providing a Family Guide for fun and activities
  • Interactive hands-on exhibits

Visitor Information

PAMM is open Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., CLOSED Wednesday, Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. General admission to the 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, $8 for the first hour and $4 for each additional hour (maximum $40 for the day), or patrons can choose to park in a nearby public lot.

Address: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

2. The Bass Museum of Art

The Bass Museum of Art

Another of phenomenal Miami art museum is The Bass Museum of Art. Also highlighting the diverse culture of Miami through contemporary art, The Bass has temporary exhibits from around the world as well as a portion of the original Bass collection.

This art museum in Miami has a major focus on education, offering special programs that teach young children about creativity and personal growth through art.

Visitor Information

The Bass Museum of Art is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., CLOSED Monday-Tuesday. General admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and youth, and FREE to members, Miami/Dade & City of Miami Beach employees, children 12 & younger, active-duty and retired military personnel, as well as the last Sunday of each month, April-June.

Address: 2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

3. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Located in North Miami, MOCA was founded in 1981 in an effort to bring contemporary art to an underserved population. This art museum in Miami blends the works of newly discovered artists with the beauty and history of the masters. MOCA has 8-10 exhibits throughout the year, and approximately 600 permanent works.

Visitor Information

MOCA is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., CLOSED Monday. General admission is $10, $3 for students and seniors, and free for children under 12, MOCA members, North Miami residents, veterans, and city employees. Open by “pay as you wish” on the last Friday of each month for “Jazz at MOCA.” Free parking is offered to the east, west and south sides of the museum.

Address: 770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161

4. Lowe Art Museum

Lowe Art Museum

This Miami art museum is a centerpiece of the University of Miami, and is home to a variety of Native American, ancient Egyptian, Renaissance and Baroque, Asian, and European originals. The Lowe is the oldest art museum in Miami, which originally opened in 1950 as an art display across the classrooms in the building. Originally established through a gift by Joe and Emily Lowe, this stunning 17,500-piece collection includes paintings from Claude Monet, African sculptures from 500 BCE, Asian costumes, medieval manuscripts, and The Samuel H. Kress collection.

Visitor Information

The Lowe Art Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sundays from 12 p.m.- 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.

Address: 1301 Stanford Dr, Coral Gables, FL 33146

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 at this Miami art museum have included the works of:

  • Botero
  • Warhol
  • Goldfarb
  • Lichtenstein
  • Manet
  • Matisse
  • Monet
  • Torres Garcia
  • Picasso

Visitor Information

The Gary Nader Art Centre is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free for everyone.

Address: 62 NE 27th St, Miami, FL 33137

6. Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Art Walk

Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Art Walk

One of the most vibrant Miami art museums is not in a building. In 2009, the warehouse district of Wynwood was revamped, and street artists were encouraged to display their talents. Today the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Art Walk virtually sing where more than 50 artists from 16 countries have created murals on over 80,000 square feet. The Wynwood Art Walk is also home to more than 60 art galleries, and on the second Saturday of each month the experience is amplified by live music, food trucks, 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 is a newcomer to the world of Miami art museums, hitting the contemporary art scene in 2014. In addition to its permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, photography, and video, the ICA Miami emphasis on education manifests itself in:

  • 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

ICA Miami is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m, CLOSED Mondays. Admission to ICA is always free.

Address: 61 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137

8. Rubell Family Collection

Rubell Family Collection

Originally established in New York City in 1964, this Miami art museum was moved to a former DEA confiscation center by Jason and Jennifer Rubell in 1993. One of the world’s largest privation collections, the Rubell Family Collection features works from Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Visitor Information

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

Address: 95 W 29th St, Miami, FL 33127

Many of the fine Miami art museums turn to Museo Vault for their art storage, handling, and shipping needs. Since November 2008 Museo Vault has catered to the high needs of art clients in Miami, West Palm Beach, and around the world. Contact us today with questions or for a free quote.