News / Saskatoon

Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan a potential target for art thieves, says expert

With its $20 million collection of Picasso linocuts, the future Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan has the potential to become a target for art thieves.

According to Anthony Amore, author of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists and a leading expert in art theft, the Picasso collection is enough for the Remai to be targeted.

“Picasso is the most stolen artist in the world, his works have been stolen more frequently than any other,” said Amore. “The reason that this happens is because if you speak to people from any audience, any background and you ask them who Picasso is, they’re going to know that he’s an artist and that his works are valuable.”

Amore explained the fact the Remai is a new building may serve as a deterrent for some thieves, as new buildings usually come with high-tech security systems, but added when dealing with this kind of art, security is never a guarantee.

“If there was an opportunity, they’re going to try to take it,” said Amore. “Nothing is 100 per cent secure. There will always be that risk when you have a Picasso or a Rembrandt or other big name artists in your facility.”

Angela Larson, acting executive director and CEO with the Mendel Art Gallery and interim executive director and CEO with the Remai said the new gallery would have five times the amount of security as the Mendel, including cameras and security guards in each of the museum’s galleries.

“When they did the functional program for the new building, (security) was definitely considered,” said Larson. “That’s when they looked at the type of security system we would need in that building and also the amount of security we would need in the various galleries.”

She continued, “Between the guards and the cameras we’re installing I think our artwork will be secure.”

The Remai, which is being built at River Landing in downtown Saskatoon, is scheduled for opening in late 2014 early 2015.

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