Lack of art insurance leads to Banksy artwork seizures

Art Insurance - Art Exhibit

The pieces by the world famous street artist have been seized by Belgian authorities due to a lack of coverage.

Belgian authorities have seized artworks from the famous/infamous street artist, Banksy, due to a lack of art insurance from the exhibitor showing them. As soon as the authorities realized that there could be a coverage issue, they acted to remove the pieces from the location.

The Banksy artwork had been on display in an exhibition held at an empty Brussels supermarket space.

The 58 pieces of Banksy artwork are valued at millions of euros. That said, the exhibitor informed the authorities that it may not have the right art insurance to protect the pieces in case of theft or damage, said the exhibitor’s lawyer, according to a BBC report.

The seizure of the artwork arrives on the heels of a dispute regarding those specific works between a German company and Banksy’s former agent. The exhibit was called Banksy Unauthorized. It is said to have been arranged without the involvement of the artist. The pieces were shown by Strokar, a Belgian exhibitor.

Despite the estimated €15 million ($17 million USD) value of the pieces, they did not have art insurance coverage.

Among the highly valued works were photos, paintings and silk screens. The collection was assembled by Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s former agent. One version of the famous Girl With Balloon piece was among those on display.

On Entertainment, a firm from Germany, invited Strokar to exhibit the artwork in Brussels, acting as an intermediary, said Stanislas Eskenazi, the lawyer representing Strokar. On Entertainment claimed to have had the necessary permissions and rights to show the works. However, Eskenazi pointed out that it was unclear as to the conditions that permitted the rights or whether artwork insurance coverage was present.

Lazarides’ lawyers accused the exhibitor of illegally displaying the pieces. Throughout the investigations, the art insurance coverage was called into question. Eskenazi stated that his clients chose to allow the courts to decide on the outcome of the disagreement between Art Insurance - Art ExhibitLazarides and On Entertainment. “My client is a small non-profit which only provided an exhibition space. It wanted to protect itself against an enormous risk,” he said. A Belgian court will rule within the next few months. At the moment the Banksy artwork is being held by bailiffs.

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