Art Basel: Sending Picasso Packing

Dec 10, 2012

Pablo Picasso's 1953 painting, 'Femme Assise,' on display at Art Basel in the Landau Fine Arts Gallery.
Credit Christine DiMattei /WLRN

Botero, Matisse, Picasso and countless others have their boarding passes and are ready to go.

Just minutes after Art Basel closed down Sunday night, the business of packing up the artwork for transport begins.

"It's a very delicate operation," says Robert Landau of Landau Fine Arts.

"Everything gets packed up by our own staff. And we load them on our dedicated truck and it leaves here before midnight [on Sunday]," says Landau.

The painting and sculptures in Landau's exhibit are triple wrapped: first in bubble wrap, then in special cardboard boxes sheathed in rubber, and finally in a wooden crate.

Landau says his gallery only had one mishap while transporting artwork from a fair.

In 1992, a painting entrusted to a transporter in Chicago had a forklift truck driven right through it.

"It wasn't fun," says Landau.