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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens‘ News Blog 9 2022

Dear friends of Kobel's Art Week and of our newsblog,

Last week I was unable to imagine what happened on Thursday. A war of aggression in the middle of Europe against a country that was just on its way to freedom and efforts of democratic communities. Actually a cowardly invasion of a Ukraine not oriented to attack or defense - why that? Because fascism must be fought? Speaks someone in the Kremlin, which thus makes itself the spearhead of fascism. We tormented our grandparents and parents in the late 60s and 70s of the last century by not believing their command emergency. Civil disobedience in a country, which pretends the rule of law, can't be a problem. In today's society, no single person can be so powerful as to order nuclear wars. There is a large crowd of people behind it, which makes this possible out of low personal motives and does not prevent it. It is the Eichmanns, of all sexes and ages, the conscienceless technocrats who allow themselves to be made tools for the sake of their own convenience and privilege. But after 1945 there is no longer any presumption of innocence for these people. The trials then no longer take place in Nuremberg ... .

The art market and the stock exchange no longer know how to react to the shift in the world. The most uncomfortable gap is formed by NFT and cryptocurrencies, because they are nowhere near as transparent as they claim to be - and they lead to a democratization of art only to a very limited extent, unless one accepts the primacy of money over that of art criticism.

Diversity united has to return from Russia at some point. The airspace is closed, the land route is unsafe, and insurers are not prepared to bear the risks of war and its consequences. War on land has always been uninsurable. What is incomprehensible, however, is the reaction of risk carriers who refuse coverage in Ukraine as soon as the current contracts expire. They are taking the side of the aggressor and depriving companies of the substitute capital function even for losses that are not related to the attempted ursurpation. There are chief global underwriters of all genders who see their position only as a passage to higher ordinances - instead of really taking a serious look at the complexity of the risks. Shame on you for letting a free country down like this. From the lush armchairs in London and Paris can be finely instructed - but the cruise missiles are there in 60 minutes even if everything goes wrong.

The old guard of art insurance eludes the brutalization of the world. Two weeks ago, Klaus Behrens, one of the most colorful figures in German art insurance, passed away. He was on the road in the East of Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, trying to attract customers, having previously headed the marine insurance office in Essen at Nordstern. Later, AON, Willis and Ecclesia were his employers.

Franz Lürbke - head of administration at Nordstern Versicherungen in the 1980s and organizationally responsible for many a party that the company hosted for Art Cologne without being accused by the tax authorities of hidden profit distribution because the auditors did not owe their promotion to a questionable points system - died on the same day as the former member of the company's board of directors Dr. Reiner Kürten, who was responsible for setting up the art insurance business in Germany in 1983.

We wish you a good week with strong nerves at the end of which there is again greater hope for a peaceful coexistence of peoples. Wars in Europe should be a thing of the past once and for all - or, to paraphrase Einstein, fought out with stones and clubs.

Yours, Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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Dr. Stephan Zilkens | Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker