Picasso, Rembrandt, M. C. Escher Works Feared Lost in Seattle Gallery Fire

Picasso, Rembrandt, M. C. Escher Works Feared Lost in Seattle Gallery Fire

Works on paper by Picasso, Goya, and Rembrandt are feared to have perished in a fire that tore through a Seattle gallery on Friday.

According to the Seattle Fire Department, someone likely lit the fire in an alley behind the gallery to ward off the cold and it subsequently spread to the three-story building. No one was injured, but Davidson Galleries manager Rebecca McDonald told CNN that several prized pieces in their collection were damaged or destroyed.

“Much of the work, we hope, will be saved. We’re triaging them now,” McDonald said, adding that it will be weeks before the extent of the damage is undetermined. Davidson Galleries is known for selling works on paper, and it had planned to move most of its inventory from Seattle’s Pioneer Square to a new space the nearby 85 Yesler Way. In preparation for the move, many precious pieces had been removed from storage, leaving them unusually vulnerable to disaster.

“I feel saddest for the contemporary artists who have trusted us with their works,” gallery owner Sam Davidson said in a statement. “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 gallery team shared on Facebook that some artworks had been damaged by smoke. “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.

Per CNN affiliate Kiro 7, many works in the collection were shielded from smoke damage by rag mats and mylar sheets, and responding firefighters were praised by the gallery for their preservation efforts while dousing the blaze.

“It’s the wonderful part of the art community, that they come together when there’s a need,” Davidson said.

The post “Picasso, Rembrandt, M. C. Escher Works Feared Lost in Seattle Gallery Fire” by Tessa Solomon was published on 01/16/2024 by www.artnews.com