Published: September 19, 2000
Trade News from Around the World
An article by Frances X. Clines in the September 17 edition of The New York Times outlines the depletion of Barnes Foundation assets, stating that this renowned private art collection – which contains some 2,000 works of art valued at more than $6 billion – is “broke.” Increased operating expenses, court battles, restrictions on ticket prices and public access, and limits set by Dr Albert C. Barnes himself on the foundation were cited as reasons for the demise of a legacy worth $10 million at its inception in 1922. The Barnes is best known for its approximately 300 Cézannes, Renoirs and Matisses.
The Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives awarded Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, N.Y., a grant in the amount of $9,200 to process and catalogue archival collections received several years ago from Cluett, Peabody & Co, Inc. Contained in the collection of over 600 cubic feet are materials related to the marketing of the Arrow collars, cuffs and shirts; manufacturing patents; financial records; photographs; hundreds of collars and the personal papers of Sanford Cluett, the inventor of the sanforizing process.
A New Mexico lawyer accused of stealing dozens of prints from Santa Fe’s University of New Mexico library collection and selling them to galleries is now a fugitive. Joseph Frontino never surrendered to Albuquerque police as he had promised. His whereabouts as of September 11, according to the Associated Press, were unknown. Frontino was caught embezzling art and photography from the UNM library from June through December 1997. He was indicted in December 1999 on 21 counts of embezzlement and criminal damage to property. Frontino sold at least two dozen original Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Steichen prints stolen from the UNM library’s special collection to the Andrew Smith and Scheinbaum & Russek photo galleries in Santa Fe. Andrew Smith said his gallery bought more than 50 prints from Frontino during several months in 1998. Smith said Frontino repeatedly told the gallery the same story: that he bought the prints from various print shops about 20 years ago when he was a law student in Philadelphia.
The Cleveland Museum of Art’s gallery of Early Christian and Byzantine art, Cleveland, Ohio, will reopen as the Robert P. Bergman Memorial Gallery, in memory of the museum’s fifth director, who died suddenly in May 1999 after serving as director since 1993. The museum’s selection of this gallery as a memorial to Bergman reflects the late director’s scholarly expertise in Medieval art and architecture. Katharine Lee Reid, Bergman’s successor as CMA director, characterized CMA’s Early Christian and Byzantine collection as distinguished, ranking it with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, D.C.) among the few collections of its stature in this country.
Two murals by Illinoisan Ernest Theodore Behr covered by a false ceiling for more than a quarter-century were recently uncovered during Illinois State Capitol renovations in Springfield. Mark Sorenson, assistant director of the Illinois State Archives, told the Associated Press that he believes the murals date to 1886, when the 10-year-old Capitol’s basement was converted to what is now the first floor. Plans are underway to restore the murals, which once again will be displayed in what is a room for House of Representatives committee clerks. Behr is believed to have worked for the company that decorated the basement of the Capitol with marble floors and probably had a hand in painting six of the historic murals in the hallways – for example, one showing Gov. Edward Coles freeing his slaves.
Onview.com, a Web portal offering fine art, will launch a Virtual Exhibitions program this fall. Emerging artists as well as “important figures of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries” will be featured in an aggressive program that includes four shows per month. Each exhibition will be open for six weeks, with a one-week review available to registered users only. The site will also present several shows simultaneously “live” at Brook Alexander Editions, the New York City-based print publisher gallery recently acquired by the firm. The first show will be “Pop Master,” paying tribute to that popular Internet Pop artist Andy Warhol, on view through November 3.
A bitter legal battle involving members of a wealthy Chicago family is delaying the planned donation of millions of dollars to local institutions such as the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Art Institute of Chicago. The dispute began when Betty Regenstein Hartman proposed distributing $82 million of the Regenstein Foundation’s $120 million in assets this year – far more than the 5 percent to 7 percent typically given out in a year. But her niece and a fund official say giving away so much money at once – including $15 million to the zoo and $12 million to the Art Institute – is part of a plan by Hartman to close the foundation. The Associated Press relates that the battle began after longtime fund director Joseph Regenstein Jr. died last year. He was the son of the fund’s founders, Joseph and Helen Regenstein, and Hartman’s brother. Hartman filed a lawsuit last week seeking a court judgment that her lump-sum plan is valid.
The Mariners’ Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, Va., will welcome Lyles Forbes as its new curator of small craft. Joining the museum’s team on August 21, Forbes will oversee the museum’s extensive collection of 128 small craft, as well as the construction and exhibition of the Mariner’s new International Small Craft Center, slated for groundbreaking in the winter of 2000-2001. Forbes comes to the Mariners’ Museum from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. During his ten years there, Forbes served as assistant curator of maritime arts and history, watercraft collection manager, and maritime history curatorial assistant.
The Denver Art Museum has decided to return “The Letter” by Seventeenth Century Dutch painter Gerard Terborch, worth $50,000, to a descendant of its Berlin owner after learning it was stolen by the Nazis during World War II. It had been donated to the museum in 1961 by a couple who bought it from a New York art dealer. Elan Steinberg, the executive director of the World Jewish Congress which has lobbied for the return of property confiscated from Holocaust victims, said it is the only second time he knows of that a museum has returned a valuable painting without a fight. “The Denver museum should be commended and should serve as a moral example to other institutions across the country,” he told Tiffany Meredith of the Associated Press. The North Carolina Museum of Art this year agreed to return a painting to two Austrian sisters who in turn sold the painting back to the museum for well below its value.
Artists Magdalena Abakanowicz, Lenore Tawney, Julie Taymor, craft school founders Francis and Priscilla Merritt and Anne Gould Hauberg, and corporate honoree Martha Stewart will receive the American Craft Museum’s Visionaries award, “Radiant Figure,” at the museum’s seventh annual black tie dinner in New York City on Wednesday, September 27. Honorees are recognized for their personal contributions in their respective fields and for promoting excellence in the arts. The winners have also helped the museum to further its mission of exploring the changing definition of craft.
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