Published: December 12, 2000
Trade News from around the World
Web surfers beware, says Michael Liedtke, a business writer for the Associated Press: Ignore the differences among online search engines and you won’t know what you’re missing. In an effort to turn a profit after years of unbroken losses, more search engines and directories are imposing listing fees to separate the wheat from the chaff in an ever-expanding Web that now has more than 2 billion pages and 14 billion hyperlinks. Typically, commercial sites pay to ensure that search engines check their sites for updates more frequently than other, non-paying sites. But some search engines also rank the search results according to how much money Web sites have paid for the privilege. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google – which replaced Inktomi as Yahoo’s search engine in June – is one of the few search engines that shuns pay-for-position and pay-for-inclusion. Google executives say those formulas make it more difficult for people to find potentially valuable information, like cancer research, on the Web. “We have taken a very strong stance that our search results represent our editorial integrity,” said Google CEO Larry Page. Meanwhile, GoTo and LookSmart are among an increasing number of engines using a “pay-for-position” formula that lists sites based on how much they bid for a prime spot.
Until last week, writes Geoff Mulvihill of the Associated Press, officials in Burlington County, N.J., did not know a 1785 deed book was missing. Then it showed up for sale on eBay. Now they’re considering a lawsuit to get back the book, which contains records of “manumissions” – or freeing of slaves and indentured servants. The county’s problem is that others were also interested in the 261-page leather-bound tome. It drew 23 bids and sold December 7 for $4,651. The deed book has been missing for a long time – possibly decades, officials said. “This is a public record of the county of Burlington. It is a cultural treasure, an emotional treasure,” said Burlington County Clerk Phil Haines. “We intend to use every means to retrieve this book.” County Solicitor Evan Crook said that could mean seeking an injunction to block the transfer of the ledger to the eBay buyer.
An illuminated manuscript that’s believed to date back to medieval times has shown up in a St. Johnsbury, Vt. book and antiques store, says AP’s Anne Wallace Allen. Booksellers Dave Warden and Bob Streeter don’t know what the leather-bound volume says, but they figured out pretty quickly after it arrived at their store – known as That Book Store – that it must be important. Bound in worn leather, with 250 pages of handwritten calligraphy and fine drawings in the margins, the manuscript is just not the kind of thing that Warden and Streeter are called on to appraise. They plan to ship it off to a rare book specialist in Akron, Ohio, for identification.
Two oil portraits that vanished from Montpelier, Vt.’s Statehouse decades ago were discovered on eBay and purchased by a group dedicated to restoring the building and its collection, Ms Allen also reports. The last time anyone recorded seeing the oil portraits of Gov. Samuel Crafts and Colonel Albert Clark was in the mid-1930s, when the paintings were listed in a Statehouse guidebook, said David Schutz, the curator of state buildings. In an inventory of the building’s collection, Schutz noted 20 years ago only that the paintings were missing. No one knew when they had left the building, or how. In May, a friend told Schutz he had seen a portrait of a Vermont governor for sale online. Schutz, who didn’t know how to use eBay, had someone show him how to search for the portrait, and further exploration on the same site led them to Clark’s portrait as well. An antiques dealer acted as the go-between for the paintings’ owner, an elderly man in the St. Petersburg area of Florida. Schutz hasn’t been able to find out anything else about the seller. He moved quickly to buy the two paintings, which were in excellent shape, although they had lost their frames over the years and needed to be preserved. The Friends of the Vermont Statehouse, a non-profit group, paid $3,500 for Crafts’ portrait and $3,000 for Clark’s. The state, which will own the paintings, is going to reimburse the group for some of the money.
The Mashantucket Pequots legally obtained some historical tribal documents that may have been stolen from the Connecticut State Library, Hartford.Detective Nicholas DeJohn told AP December 7 it is not likely that anyone will be charged with stealing the documents and it may never be known how the papers ended up at the Mashantucket Pequots’ museum. The tribe bought the documents through reputable dealers and auction houses and apparently had no inkling they were once in the genealogy collection at the state library, DeJohn said.
A Colmar, France appeals court ruled December 8 that a Strasbourg art museum must return one of its most important paintings, a watercolor by Gustav Klimt, to the heir of its original owner. According to AP, the court said the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art acquired the painting, “L’Accomplissement (Accomplishment),” for an inordinately low sum of money and should give it back to Fritz Grunwald, 82, who moved to the United States after World War II. Lawyers for Grunwald, who lives in Franklin Lakes, N.J., had argued that the painting originally belonged to Karl Grunwald, a well-known Viennese antiques dealer, who shipped his valuables to France after the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938. The painting – a stunning Art Nouveau watercolor with charcoal and gold and silver leaf – was among his many possessions confiscated in Strasbourg during the war as the Nazis systematically plundered the nation’s most valuable art collections belonging to Jews.
Stolen during World War II, a Sixteenth Century painting of Jesus, praised as the “missing link” between the Italian and Northern Renaissance art periods, was turned over to German authorities December 5 by U.S. Customs officials who had recovered it last year on Long Island. The occasion was a joyous one for German officials and for art aficionados who gazed lovingly at the folder-sized “Bust of Christ” a $5-million, oil-on-wood signed painting by Jacobo de’ Barbari in 1503. “This is indeed a great moment,” said Bernhard Von Der Planitz, counsel general of the German Consulate in New York, told Donna de la Cruz of the Associated Press. It’s speculated that because American troops from the 15th Infantry Division had control of a castle in Rudolstadt, Germany, where the painting, among other, was stored during the war, a soldier most likely brought the painting home. The other 12 paintings also were stolen – four, including the de’ Barbari painting, have been recovered. The other nine are believed to be in the United States and Customs is seeking the public’s help in their recovery by posting pictures on its Web site.
To sell or not to sell? A Georgia O’Keeffe painting is back in the news this week as a Museum of New Mexico Foundation committee is recommending the foundation keep her 1931 “Bear Lake,” which another committee voted to sell, says AP. The foundation’s board of trustees will make the final decision painting’s fate at its January meeting. The board’s finance committee had suggested selling it to raise money for endowments for four museums in the state system. Foundation trustees had agreed last month. Museum officials, however, objected to selling the O’Keeffe, which has hung in the state Museum of Fine Arts for 16 years. Foundation Chairman Sanford M. Besser told the museum system that the executive committee would reconsider the decision.
The final holiday card from the Clintons at the White House features a watercolor painting of the Yellow Oval Room decorated for the holidays, American Greetings told AP December 4. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York’s senator-elect, selected the card’s design featuring the painting of artist Ray Ellis. American Greetings produced the White House card for an eighth consecutive year.
On November 6, writes Michael B. Grogan, the venerable New York City carpet and tapestry dealer Vojtech Blau passed away after a brief illness at the age of 78. In so many ways his life was the embodiment of the fulfilled American Dream; Holocaust survivor, American immigrant, successful businessman, loving husband, father and grandfather, friend and mentor.
It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden death of Sandra Mitchell, of the Midwest Quilt Exchange, Columbus, Ohio, on December 2. Mitchell started out with the Ann Arbor Antiques Market some 32 years ago in our first year on Detroit Street Ann Arbor, doing all the shows except the last two Novembers, many times driving into the night to be an “early bird.” She worked tirelessly sharing her expertise of quilts, native American Indian, paper weights, and stoneware.
The Thaw Collection at the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y., comprising more than 800 pieces of American Indian art, recently added three new acquisitions: a head canoe, an amulet made from a sperm whale tooth, and a classic woven hat. These new pieces further strengthen the Northwest Coast holdings in the Thaw Collection, which date from ancient times to the late Twentieth Century and represent a broad range of cultures across North America.
Christie’s has announced the appointment of Marc Porter as international managing director based in New York City. Effective January 1, 2001, Porter will assume this new role in addition to maintaining his responsibilities as International Business Director of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art. This appointment is part of Christie’s globalization strategy to internationalize the structure of the firm.
Claire K. Matthews has been named Director of External Affairs at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn. She will assume the post on January 15 and will map strategic plans for a capital and endowment campaign. She will also oversee the Development, Marketing, Public Relations, Membership, Visitors Services and Publication Departments, as well as The Museum Shop.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm