Great works of art have many prying eyes, some nefarious and keen to steal. Keeping thieves away requires intensely secure storage.
It’s no secret that professional thieves love fine works of art. They’re relatively easy to make off with and, with the right contacts, they can soon get them onto the black market and make a fortune. The only real difficulty is getting their hands on them in the first place.
This is a worry that crosses the mind of many a fine art gallery and collector. As many paintings have been swiped while in transit or apparently secure storage, fears are raised once the priceless works are out of a gallery’s or private residence’s own secure environment. What’s of particular concern is that many stolen paintings are never recovered; they just seem to disappear into the ether, never to be seen again.
Consider one of the most notorious art heists in history: that of Dutch chiaroscuro master Vermeer’s The Concert. This is — or rather was — a priceless masterpiece that nevertheless had a value of around US$200 million and depicts a man and two women playing music and singing. First sold in Amsterdam in 1696, it was stolen along with 12 other works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 and hasn’t been seen since.
The Shipping Artwork Forecast
While that museum theft remains the biggest single art robbery in history and an unsolved crime (a $10 million reward for information remains in place), thankfully, other swiped works have resurfaced. A de Kooning (Woman-Ochre) recently emerged from the murky underworld shadows more than 30 years after it was nicked.
One thing, however, is clear. Thieves will strike anywhere they get the opportunity, even if art galleries have the latest in security and surveillance measures. There is, it turns out, always a way in. That’s why here at Momentous, global specialists in shipping artwork and secure storage, we have carefully analysed the best preventative measures and implemented them.
We know all too well how stressful it can be for art gallery owners and private collectors when their precious works are out of their hands. Whether they are shipping artwork to international exhibitions and the works are on the road for long periods, or housed for a period in secure storage, extra precautions are required.
Solid Secure Storage
Safety and security are two vital elements of any secure storage area, so you know that from the start, fine art will be handled with care and kept well out of sight. Our secure storage facility, for example, was purpose-built and because it’s near both Heathrow Airport and the Eurotunnel, it’s highly advantageous for shipping artwork onwards, or receiving paintings from abroad.
What kind of security keeps robbers at bay? From our experience with secure storage and the systems we use, it’s an effective combination of CCTV that’s monitored around the clock, intruder alarms, high-security perimeter fencing, ram-raid doors and other measures that we don’t disclose. This provides an almost impenetrable wall of security that keeps even the most ardent robbers out. Over our three decades and more of experience in secure storage and shipping artwork, we have never had a client’s work of art stolen.
But it’s not enough just to have secure storage facilities laden with security technology, designed to keep criminals out and record everyone’s movements. It’s also vital that the personnel working in this pristine environment are fully qualified specialists in not only handling and storing fine artworks, but can keep quiet about what’s being stored, especially if famous paintings arrive.
It all adds up to a fine art secure storage system, brushed with genius.
Find out more about the best secure storage facilities for fine art in the UK today by contacting Momentous now. We will tell you everything you need to know to keep your valuable works safe and secure at all times when they’re in storage and being shipped around the UK and the world.