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The Numbers Are In: Chelsea Lost Over $40 Million in Art Due to Hurricane Damage

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Art insurance company AXA Art estimates that its losses in Chelsea currently total $40 million, according to an e-mail sent to press over the weekend. Considering AXA is not the only company serving the Chelsea area, it is safe to assume the real cost is substantially higher. Other damage — to gallery infrastructure, plumbing, records, and computers — is also not included in the total.

AXA Art insures more than $1 billion in art in Chelsea alone and counts hundreds of private collectors, galleries, and art storage facilities among its clients. The fact that Hurricane Sandy destroyed less than half the total value of locally insured artwork is “testimony to the preventative actions our clients took to protect their art as well as the positive impact of speedy removal of works of art from the affected areas for conservation treatment,” AXA Art CEO Christiane Fischer said in a statement.

For more on the complexities of insurance coverage for galleries in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, check out ARTINFO’s report here.

Julia Halperin

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  1. by Laura Stutler

    Why would you not remove the art works and records,etc.
    If there was any ANY inkling that it could possibly be hit by Sandy.

  2. Actually, the numbers are not in – this is only an estimate.

  3. Surely if AXA are saying there are $40 Million of claims and they are also saying that Sandy destroyed less than half the locally insured art, which they value at $1 Billion, surely they must have dropped a 0 and be talking about $400 Million.

  4. Living in NYC, a professional artist for over 20 years and having had a studio in one of the damaged buildings I can say that most of the artwork is at best amateurish and hasn’t sold in years. A number of the galleries seem to be owned by trust fund 20-30 year olds and and the work they promote are from their peers of the same age. Perhaps some may develop into mature good artists but most are just bad graduate student quality. Many of the works destroyed were the prints and extras of artists being stored in basements. The galleries had ample time to move work higher or to a second floor and just move a few items and their arrogance suggested that it would do no damage and just locked the doors and left. It can be assured that many of the galleries will try to collect from overpriced works that have not sold. Sales from Chelsea Galleries have been slow or non existent over the last couple years. If I were the Insurance companies I would really investigate what they cover from inflated prices to non existent work. In addition I wouldn’t be surprised if the galleries collect and not pay he artists. The major galleries lost very little work, the midrange galleries lost some and the low end galleries lost a bit more. The pictures do not tell the whole story, walking around and viewing the damage told much more of the story.

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