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Two months ago, Hurricane Sandy battered New York City and caused severe flooding in many art galleries, especially those located in Chelsea. Initially, the prominent firm AXA Art Insurance estimated that the damage they would be paying out totaled around $40 million. Due to the severity of the destroyed gallery spaces and damaged artworks, that number is now closer to $500 million. The hard-hit area is slowly recovering but many galleries remain closed and under construction.

One of the main contributors to the growing price tag on Sandy-related art losses is Pop artist Peter Max (b. 1937) who lost an entire collection of works on paper that had been stored in a flooded warehouse. The claim for the lost Max works was set at $300 million.

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Known for her extravagant shoe collection, one-time Philippine first lady, Imelda Marcos, also accrued an admirable art collection during her late husband’s reign. Marcos’ former secretary, Vilma Bautisa, was indicted on Tuesday, November 20th, on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud, and offering a false instrument for filing, all relating to artworks that had previously belonged to Marcos. 74-year-old Bautista acquired a number of important paintings from Marcos and her husband, Ferdinand, after his regime came crashing down in 1986 after a citizen revolt.

The Manhattan District Attorney hit Bautista, a New York resident, with charges that she was conspiring to sell paintings that were the legal property of the Philippine government. The District Attorney’s office claims that Bautista used false paperwork to sell Le Bassin aux Nymphéas (1899) from Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series in September 2010 for $32 million. The other works in Bautista’s possession are Monet’s L’Eglise et La Seine a Vétheuil (1881), Alfred Sisley’s Langland Bay (1887), and Albert Marquet’s Le Cypres de Djenan Sidi Said (1946). The four paintings involved in the suit once hung in a Manhattan town house used by Imelda Marcos and her husband.

Two of Bautista’s nephews were also charged but did not appear in court. Bautista pleaded not guilty and was released on a $175,000 bond.

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The victim of a devastating art heist that took place last Friday, the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam claims their security system is not to blame. The Museum’s director Emily Ansenk shot down allegations that a rear emergency door had been left open. However, police are investigating whether or not there was someone in the museum after hours that could have opened the door for the thieves, as there were no signs of forced entry.

After robbers swiped seven artworks including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, and Monet, the Kunsthal became the subject of intense scrutiny. The Museum admitted to Dutch police that there were no security guards on duty when the robbery occurred. An external security firm was the first to respond when the Museum’s alarm went off. Museum officials claim that their security system, which relies solely on alarms and security cameras, is state-of-the-art.

Late on Friday, police released three grainy surveillance photos of the burglars exiting the Museum out of a back door. While their faces were not visible, police hope that the bags the thieves were carrying are recognizable. Police proceeded to post leaflets around the neighborhood, asking potential witnesses to step forward.

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