Samsung is not just about phones and dishwashers. The tech company has now partnered with an art crime expert for an online exhibit featuring stolen masterpieces. The hope is that the exhibit will raise awareness of the lost pieces and help aid in their recovery.
A Collaboration of Hope
Samsung’s Missing Masterpieces is a collaboration with art crime expert and founder of The Association for Research into Crimes Against Art‘s (ARCA) Noah Charney. The hope is that bringing these masterpieces back in the view of the public will renew enthusiasm for finding them. The exhibit includes 12 pieces from master artists like Van Gogh and Monet.
Per The Collector, Charney says of the effort, “Before you get to work on a puzzle, you want to gather all the pieces, right? It’s the same with a crime or a mysterious loss. From contradictory media reports to speculation in Reddit feeds – the clues are out there, but the volume of information can be overwhelming. This is where technology and social media can help by bringing people together to assist the search. It’s not unheard of for an innocuous tip posted online to be the key that unlocks a case.”
The Stolen Pieces Have Extraordinary Stories
Many of the missing masterpieces were stolen in extraordinary ways. Per The Art Newspaper, “Many of the show’s works have a backstory worthy of a movie. Cézanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise (1879-80), which once hung in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, went missing in true Mission Impossible style. On New Year’s Eve 1999, hours before the new millennium, burglars took advantage of the festivities to climb an adjacent building’s scaffolding, descend into the museum via a smashed skylight and steal the painting by blocking motion sensors with a smoke bomb.”
Samsung continues the explanation, ” [also] Chloe & Emma by Barbora Kysilkova, which was stolen in broad daylight from a museum in Norway. The thieves plucked out more than 200 nails to pull out the canvas, leaving its frame in an immaculate state.”
Monet’s Waterloo Bridge (1901), stolen alongside his Charing Cross Bridge, went missing in 2012. The pieces, once displayed in Rotterdam’s Kunsthal, may have been set aflame. A mother of one of the suspected thieves claims that her child set the pieces on fire in her wood stove, hoping to destroy evidence of their crimes. Police were unable to prove this assertion, however, and the pieces remain listed as lost or missing.
View Them From the Comfort of Your Own Home
Companies have had to adjust to the new from-home world in 2020’s post-pandemic era, and so too has Samsung. With technology exhibitions going digital or being canceled, companies are looking for new ways to reach audiences. Samsung’s exhibit may be a bid to show off it’s fancy newest TVs, but it’s also serving a far nobler purpose.
Art fans can view the valuable pieces from home, and nowhere else. With the physical pieces missing, these digital representations are the best way to appreciate the lost works of art. Charney and Samsung hope that the images will jog someone’s memory, shake loose some detail. With any luck, some or all of these beautiful pieces of history and art will come home to roost and lovers of art can visit them in person instead of yearning from home.