How Do You Move 100+ Monet Masterpieces? Very, Very Carefully

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Visitors to the Denver Art Museum can currently see 120 different paintings by Claude Monet from all over the world. But how did they get there — like, literally get there?

To find out, I talked with Sarah Cucinella-McDaniel, chief registrar at the Denver Art Museum. She's sort of like a travel agent for art — and for this exhibition she booked the itineraries for artworks from more than 70 lenders around the world: museums, as well as private collectors. (One of her recent days started unexpectedly, around 1:45 a.m., when one of her nine Monet shipments for the day arrived at the museum hours ahead of schedule.)

"It's a lot," she says. "There are many, many spreadsheets."

The first thing Cucinella-McDaniel does in this process is convince lenders that the museum will take good care of these treasures ... because the works of Monet, an Impressionist master, are worth a lot.

This year, Meules, a painting from his "Grainstack" series, sold at an auction for more than $110 million. Sotheby's said that was an auction record for an Impressionist work.

The Denver Art Museum wouldn't tell us the combined value of its show, nor how much it cost to insure, citing security reasons. That's standard, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

The museum did, however, get help from a federal program that reduces insurance costs for international exhibitions.

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