IN a huge high profile security operation last week, over 100 famous works of art valued in the millions were delivered to two prestigious museums in Madrid from the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland.
The precious works of art, (including works by Picasso, Liger and Warhol) were carefully transported in five separate climate controlled lorries at different times. Each truck contained its own security staff with GPS tracking, and kept permanent contact with command vehicles and police outriders.
Once inside the museum, the crated masterpieces had to be left untouched for 24 hours before being opened just to allow for acclimatisation.
The Kunstmuseum Basel houses the largest and most significant public art collection in Switzerland, boasting works from artists such as: Edvard Munch, Wassily Kandinsky, Picasso, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Van Gogh, Le Corbusier, Paul Klee and Andy Warhol. Some of these works have never left the country before. However, while the museum undergoes a major refurbishment, over 170 works from their collection will be exhibited by the two most important Spanish art museums: The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Museo Nacional del Prado.
The exhibition, which will include the 10 famous Basel Picassos, and the world’s most expensive painting; Gauguin’s ‘Nafea Fas Ipoipo,’ (which recently sold for 275 million euros) is due to open on March 18 and run for six months.
The total value of the collection on exhibit has been estimated for state insurance purposes at 1.1 billion euros.