Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan surely appreciates the importance of insuring artwork. In a brazen heist that made worldwide headlines last September, his 18-karat golden toilet—titled America—was stolen from an exhibition of the artist’s work at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom. It was valued at $2.6 million and remains missing.
The artist has apparently turned that loss into an opportunity.
On Tuesday, Cattelan appeared on promotional materials for the new art insurance business Arte Generali, nude save for a strategically placed copy of the infamous toilet. The cover was shot by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who collaborated with Cattelan on the project.
Arte Generali, a unit of the global insurance firm Generali, officially launched Tuesday. Generali CEO Philippe Donnet soon made clear his goal: total dominance of the art insurance market, starting with competing with his former employer and current market leader, French multinational firm AXA.
According to a statement from the division, Generali aims to become a top-three player in the global art insurance segment in five years. According to the New York Times, that would necessitate at least $55 million in revenues by 2024; over that period art insurance revenues world-wide are forecast to grow by 20 percent, reaching $4.3 trillion. The business will launch first in Europe, where the Italian company is better-known, before expanding the operation to the Middle East.
The division is aspiring to be a one-stop service for art collectors, offering appraisals from experts in addition to storage, transport, and restoration—a “partner for life,” said Arte Generali’s CEO, Jean Gazancon in a statement. The company will also manage valuable collectibles such as high-price musical instruments and jewelry valued up to $164 million.
“Arte Generali’s brand campaign juxtaposes the risk run by art collectors of their art pieces being stolen with the metaphorical act of stealing that every artist commits,” Cattelan said in a statement. “My whole career has been based on the non-existence of originality—in other words, the ability to invent by adding to something that has been invented already, or the ability to elicit unexpected emotions by triggering emotions that one felt already before.”