In one of the most bizarre art thefts in recent years, a panel of light switches made by Rachel Whiteread has been stolen.
If anyone is offered Untitled (24 Switches), 1998, the insurer AXA ART wants to hear from you.
"The most important thing is who is asking for insurance. Know your client. If there is any doubt about moral probity of the client, you wouldn’t go ahead."
Nick Brett, AXA ART Insurance
AXA ART – the world’s only art-led insurance company – is offering a substantial reward for the safe recovery of two small-scale archaeological fragments: an Assyrian low relief and a marble head dating from the Roman Empire that were stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in the fall of 2011.
Clare Dewey, AXA ART’s Claims Manager in charge of the case, has an MA in Antiquities. She explains, “The objects are easily portable and may have been sent outside Quebec. The priority is for everyone – AXA ART, the police and the Museum team – to work in close collaboration in order to recover them.”
"AXA ART are offering a substantial reward for the safe recovery of two archaeological fragments - a 5th century BC Persian low relief showing the head of a guard and a marble head dating from the Roman Empire - which were stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts during October 2011."
"We never give up hope. Sometimes I have recovered items a year, two years, three years, four years, five years down the line," said Dalrymple, a top art-world investigator who was also consulted after the theft of five tiny ivory sculptures from Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario.
Along with the reward — an unspecified amount from the AXA ART insurance company, which is working with the Sureté du Québec — officials are offering an additional $10,000 to anyone who can identify the suspect caught on the museum's closed-circuit security video cameras.
"AXA ART has targeted the owners of art and other valuable collectible items such as vintage cars, wine and furniture with its new insurance policy, ArtFIRST.
The policy has no minimum sum insured and can cover a personal collection valued at up to £1m."
AXA ART’s new ArtFIRST product came with another industry first claim as policyholders do not need to update the insurer about new purchases below a £1m total limit.
“It is a sad consequence of the continuing economic crisis that more large metal sculptures are being stolen,” said Annabel Fell-Clark, chief executive officer of insurers AXA ART UK. “We would encourage councils to review the security of any works on public display in conjunction with their insurers. Galleries and private home owners also need to take extra precautions – they can even consider replacing easily accessible works with replicas so as to be able to keep the real work safe elsewhere.
“Have a good sensor alarm system in place – and use it. Grow spiky hedges to deter thieves. Avoid displaying bronze or other precious metal sculptures in window bays.” The new guidance comes after Dame Barbara Hepworth’s bronze sculpture. entitled Two Forms-Divided Circle was stolen from Dulwich Park, south London, earlier this week.
Channel 4 News interviews AXA ART UK CEO Annabel Fell-Clark about the theft of Barbara Hepworth's Two Forms (Divided Circle). The sculpture was stolen from Dulwich Park in Southwark after being erected there in 1970 and seeing out 41 years of residency. It is believed that the 20th century piece was stolen with intention to sell as scrap metal; railway lines and war memorials are being targeted by theives across the country as the prices of copper, lead and bronze soar.
AXA ART Insurance has raised six times the estimated value of damaged art works in a salvage sale to raise money for charity.
All lots were sold by in-house RICS-accredited Risk Surveyor and experienced auctioneer, Andrew Davies, who conducted the sale and raised a total of £17,749 - six times the estimate - which will go to Prader Willi Syndrome Association UK.
AXA ART said goodbye to its offices on Fenchurch Street in style after its second salvage auction raised almost £18,000 ($28,000) with all the money raised going to support the Prader Willi Syndrome Association UK (PWSA).
'AXA ART Insurance has agreed to sponsor the Maratta painting, as a gift to the university’s 600th anniversary campaign, through waiving the insurance costs for both the transit of the work and its time in St Andrews.'
"Andrew Davies, of sponsors AXA ART and Stackhouse Poland, outlines the network of specialists - from shippers and packers, conservators, valuers and tax advisors - necessary for today's collector. Advice included having an accurate valuation of a collection and keeping a photographic archive."
“One of the riskiest times is moving items airside,” says Nick Brett of AXA Art. “They have to be cleared through customs, sometimes going into general cargo storage, before being loaded onto the plane. If your fine art carrier hasn’t got a representative airside then you have no control over how works are handled or by whom. If you do have someone airside, they’re there to supervise the movement of the items and hopefully some idiot won’t drive a forklift truck through your crate, which has happened at JFK [New York] more than once.”
The highlight was the Art Auction, featuring works by such contemporary British artists as Maggi Hambling, Ken Howard, Patrick Hughes and Tony Heywood, and Russell Young, with Lord Dalmeny advising the well heeled society crowd to ‘imagine they were Charles Saatchi’ for the duration of the auction.
The event and the raffle were sponsored by AXA Art, the world’s only art-led insurance company. The chefs for the evening were four of the UK’s best known chefs: Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck & Dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park), Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social), Brett Graham (The Ledbury) and Lisa Allen (Northcote Manor) who prepared the mouth-watering menu to celebrate 25 years of PAC (formerly Post-Adoption Centre).
AXA Art insurance specialises in high value art and collectibles. Since 1982, founded on the principles of personal and dedicated service, AXA Art has provided worldwide peace of mind for its clients’ most precious possessions.
'Passion was in the air in the rooms of the Wallace Collection last week - or at least the word was at the inaugural Apollo seminar sponsored by specialist art broker, Stackhouse Poland with AXA Art Insurance...'
'And if you have too much stuff, he had an easy answer: lend - to friends, to pubs, wherever.
AXA Art's Andrew Davies rather suprisingly agreed - insurers did not always insist on laser beams and fancy alarms, though window locks were essential.'
'Clare Dewey, who works at AXA Art Insurance, claimed that: "it could easily be the most expensive painting ever sold. It could even break £100 million if experts believe it is real"...'
'Clare Dewey of AXA Art Insurance said: "To say Michelangelos don't come on the market very often would be an understatement. A tiny drawing by the artist sells for millions, so that puts into context how much a painting would fetch if you could prove it is genuine..."'
Axa Art’s underwriting director, Nicholas Brett, said: “A massive increase in value has occurred in the last 10 years. In some ways, it has exceeded the increases in the fine art market. It’s become extremely popular as an investment in the Far East and Russia.”...
'As April showers loom, Annabel Fell-Clark advises on one particularly topical risk-- water damage... Annabel Fell-Clark is chief executive officer of AXA Art UK.'