A Fire at a Seattle Gallery Destroys Works By Picasso, Rembrandt, and Goya

Undamaged works are now safely housed at the gallery's new location nearby.

A two-alarm fire at a Seattle gallery destroyed works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt Van Rijn and Francisco Goya. Photo courtesy of Seattle Fire Department

A two-alarm fire that tore through an art gallery in Seattle destroyed works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Francisco Goya.

The blaze began at 6:39 a.m. on January 12 at Davidson Galleries, the Seattle Fire Department said in a statement. Firefighters responded to 911 calls reporting a fire in a three-story commercial building housing the gallery, with crews requesting additional aide soon after arriving.

“No one was found inside the building and firefighters confirmed the fire did not extend into the adjacent businesses,” fire officials said. Firefighters were able to control the blaze by 8 a.m. and investigators later ruled that the cause was accidental, likely by someone lighting a fire to stay warm in the alley behind the building.

The gallery confirmed the fire at its location on Occidental Avenue in a statement published on Instagram, stating smoke from the fire caused significant damage to the building. No one was injured.

“The smoke has harmed some artworks and we are currently in the process of assessing the extent of the damage. However, it was not as extensive as initially thought, and we are hopeful that we will be able to preserve the vast majority of our inventory,” the gallery said.

The gallery told CNN that the works damaged had included those by Picasso, Rembrandt, and Goya. Artnet News left a message with the gallery seeking a list of the damaged works and additional comment, but did not hear back by press time.

“Some normal operations are currently suspended, including access to our website. We hope to resume our online and in-person services shortly. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the gallery said.

The fire came just as the gallery was preparing for a planned relocation to a new address in Pioneer Square, just a short walk away. Undamaged works are now reportedly housed in the new space, which the gallery had planned to open February 1 but has since been postponed.

“We would like to thank the many community members who showed up at the gallery to lend a hand and to the countless others who have shared kind messages of support. Your words and actions have been greatly reassuring and motivating through this challenge,” the gallery said. “We are truly grateful to be a part of a wonderful arts community.”

 

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