Picasso, Rembrandt and Goya works feared lost following fire at Seattle art gallery

The smoke damaged some artworks, the gallery team said.

The smoke damaged some artworks, the gallery team said.

Irreplaceable art works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Goya and M.C. Escher are among those feared lost after a fire swept through a Seattle art gallery on Friday, the gallery’s manager told CNN.

Authorities believe someone started a fire in the alley behind the gallery to warm themselves and it spread into the three-story building. Firefighters responded to 911 calls at 6:39 a.m. Friday, the Seattle Fire Department said. At that time, temperatures in the area hovered in the low 20s.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which investigators have since ruled accidental.

“Much of the work, we hope, will be saved. We’re triaging them now,” Davidson Galleries manager Rebecca McDonald said. It may take weeks for the gallery to determine the fate of the works of the famed artists.

Davidson Galleries specializes in works on paper – specifically etchings, lithographs and wood cuts, owner Sam Davidson told CNN. He had amassed between 16,000 to 18,000 pieces over the past 50 years.

The oldest piece in the collection dates back to 1490, while the newest pieces were created just last week, McDonald said.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which investigators have since ruled accidental.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which investigators have since ruled accidental.KIRO

The gallery was just weeks away from a planned move of their inventory from downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square to a new location several blocks away. Several artworks were laid out on the floor in preparation of the move, making them more exposed to potential smoke damage.

“I feel saddest for the contemporary artists who have trusted us with their works,” Davidson said. “Until I got there and saw it myself, I didn’t get the full impact. It is very dramatic when you walk in the gallery. It’s just so black in there.”

The smoke damaged some artworks, the gallery team said in a Facebook post updated Sunday. “We are currently in the process of assessing the extent of the damage. However, it was not as extensive as initially thought, and we are hopeful that we will be able to preserve the vast majority of our inventory,” the post read.

This photo taken on July 12, 2023 and obtained from Italian news agency Ansa, shows the installation titled "The Venus of rags" by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto burning after a suspected arson attack in Naples. (Photo by STRINGER / ANSA / AFP) / Italy OUT (Photo by STRINGER/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images)

Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘Venus of the Rags’ installation destroyed in fire in Naples

Many pieces in the collection were in drawers, while others were covered with rag mats and a sheet of mylar that may have protected them from smoke damage, said McDonald, who also credited the responding firefighters.

“The firefighters were wonderful,” she said. “They were very judicious about using water when they realized they were in gallery.”

The fire started at the back of the gallery, once the flames were doused, the firefighters “protected the works carefully, packing them outside,” McDonald said.

In the aftermath of the fire, firefighters and artists alike gathered to help move the art works.

“It’s the wonderful part of the art community, that they come together when there’s a need,” Davidson told.https://belahsamping.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *