Recently Recovered Picasso Painting is Forcing the Art Industry to Reconsider its Blockchain Stance

A stolen Picasso that had been missing for more than two decades has finally been recovered this week by investigators. While the development has been welcomed by art enthusiasts all across the globe, it has also thrust into the limelight the need to implement new security solutions within today’s massive $63.7 bln worth art market.

According to Stephen Howes of Thomas Crown Art, the 1938 painting called “Portrait of Dora Maar,” was stolen from a yacht belonging to a Saudi prince all the way back in 1999.

Additionally, Howes also mentioned that art theft is a major issue that has been growing at a “considerable rate” over the past century or so— especially in relation to paintings associated with artists such as da Vinci, and Van Gogh.

“Indeed, it’s a problem that seems to be on the rise. It has been reported that the vast majority of art and antiquities on major retail bidding sites are thought to be artistic fakes. Meanwhile, according to research, more than 90 percent of museum art thefts involves an insider, often using high level forgery techniques to produce fakes.”

Enter Blockchain

On the subject of security, Howes recently spoke with a respected media outlet, wherein he claimed that blockchain technology could be the way moving forward for the art-industry as a whole— since it provides owners with a simple yet effective way of tracking their paintings (as well as their other highly-valued assets).

He then went on to say that the technology also offers a number of other benefits such as:

  • The ability to “store a permanent, immutable record of artwork at the point of creation or beyond”
  • Authenticate the veracity of registered paintings along with other art forms using the internet.


“Tracking these valuable pieces and registering their records creates a chain of custody that documents their ownership and transfer. This can include noting the pieces’ auctions, sale values, shipment and other verified information without disclosing sensitive personal data of the owners.”

Final Take

In closing out this piece, it should be mentioned to our readers that the folks over at Thomas Crown Art are currently making use of blockchain for the above-stated provenance purposes. If that wasn't enough, the company has even deployed a mechanism to use physical artwork as a store of value — primarily through the use of a concept called ‘walletising’, wherein each individual piece of art is linked to a Certificate of Provenance within the firm’s native blockchain ecosystem.

Last but not least, Howes is also of the opinion that as we move into the future, more and more galleries, as well as private collectors, need to start making use of this novel tech. offering so as to increase investor confidence within the ever-growing domain.

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