VENICE, Italy – Two artworks by renowned Spanish artist Joan Miro suffered water damage when an exhibit in an iconic palace in the northern Italian city of Venice became flooded amid a spell of adverse weather and heavy downpours battering the region, art experts said on Tuesday.
Managers at the Palazzo Zagguri, a 14th-century Venetian palace used as an art gallery, said the Miro pieces, which are worth an estimated $500,000 each, had been taken to a restorer although they acknowledged the salt water could have affected the coloring of the artworks.
“We returned to the exhibition at night because there were warnings that the water was as high as 1.4 meters (55 inches),” said Francesco Macaluso, one of the exhibition’s organizers. “On the first floor we saw a stream of water coming down the stairs and when we went up we saw it was coming from the second floor.”
Born in Barcelona, Miro (1893-1983) was one of Spain’s foremost artists in the 20th century, a contemporary of Pablo Picasso who also explored expressionism and surrealism, and who like many creative intellectuals opposed the onset of Fascism in Europe.
The organizers said they were confident the items would nonetheless be ready to be put on display by Nov. 1, when the cultural center looks to open its doors for the exhibition of 20th-century greats called “From Kandinsky to Botero. All in one thread.”
Venice witnessed its worst spell of flooding in a decade, recording a water level of roughly 1.5 meters (5 feet) above sea level as deadly rain storms and fierce gales wreaked havoc elsewhere in Italy, killing at least 10 people.
However, the flooding in the Palazzo Zagguri was caused by torrential rain pouring into the plumbing system.
The toilets on the first-second floor of the building began to overflow and the water dripped down onto the floor below.
The tapestries were located near the bathrooms and, although covered in a protective sheet, suffered water damage, they said.