Published: December 18, 2001
Trade News from around the World
The Art Institute of Chicago is suing Dallas-based Integral Investment Management LLP, a trading firm, for allegedly defrauding it of millions of dollars, reports the Associated Press. Art Institute officials invested about $43 million in hedge funds that the firm promised to protect from any downturn in financial markets, according to the lawsuit filed December 10 in Dallas. The lawsuit charges that Integral Investment executives deceived Art Institute officials about the safety of the fund’s trading strategies and put most of the money in risky investments. The complaint states that one fund containing $23 million lost as much as 90 percent of its value. The museum’s total investment with Integral Investment is more than 6 percent of the Art Institute’s $667 million portfolio, museum officials said. Integral Investment officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
According to David Caruso of the Associated Press, the last of seven Norman Rockwell paintings stolen from the Elayne Galleries in St Louis Park, Minn., 23 years ago have been recovered and will be returned to their owner. The FBI made the announcement December 12. The three works are worth more than $700,000. Two were recovered in 1999 after a Brazilian man tried to have the paintings appraised and sold at a Philadelphia gallery. Two more were returned to gallery owner Bonnie Lindberg after she found them at a gallery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Investigators have known the location of the last three remaining paintings for two years, but had been unable to pursue the case because of treaty problems between the United States and Brazil, U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said. A new law enforcement cooperation agreement, approved in February of 2001, cleared the way for the paintings’ return to the United States, Meehan said.
A 500-year-old painting stolen by the Nazis during World War II returned to public display at the Vizcaya Museum, Miami, Fla., for the first time since 1992, AP reports. Museum officials disclosed in September that a painting in its collection – “The Holy Trinity, Seat of Mercy” by Nuremberg-born Georg Pencz – had been stolen from Poland’s National Museum in Warsaw during World War II. The small oil on wood painting began its display on December 13. It’s the first artwork in South Florida to be linked to Nazi plunder. Donated by the late Claire Mendel in 1980, it was part of a collection of mostly northern European Renaissance works painted between 1450 and 1650. Mendel was the German consul in Miami from 1958 to 1970.
A reputed mob associate accused of peddling phony art pleaded guilty in New York City December 14 after prosecutors threatened to play videotape at his trial showing him with John “Dapper Don” Gotti, writes AP’s Tom Hays. Dominick “Little Dom” Curra – once identified by authorities as Gotti’s personal bookie – admitted that he conspired last year to sell forged art, including purported works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Katya Jestin. Curra, 57, could face up to five years in prison at sentencing on March 1.
According to AP, the director of a Daytona Beach, Fla. community college’s photography museum left her position December 14, accusing administrators of censorship by telling her to cancel an exhibit on Afghanistan. “It’s clear that there is no place for me at the college,” said Alison Nordstrom, director and senior curator of the Southeast Museum of Photography at Daytona Beach Community College since 1991. Vice President of Academics Frank Lombardo denied that college officials told Nordstrom to cancel the Afghanistan show. Instead, Lombardo said, he told Nordstrom not to schedule the show at the same time as another exhibit celebrating American patriotism. The school president had suggested the latter exhibit. But Nordstrom said that at a mid-November meeting, she was told “my exhibitions have a liberal bias and that I am an elitist.”
Brian and Anna Haughton have announced that the 2002 International Asian Art Fair will take place at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City in a purpose-built pavilion in Damrosch Park. The venue is located adjacent to The Metropolitan Opera House and the New York State Theater in the southwest corner of Lincoln Center Plaza at 62nd Street. Brian Haughton says, “We are pleased and honored to be invited by the Lincoln Center Board of Directors to hold the fair at this world renowned cultural center. It has long been an important destination for arts lovers the world over and we are excited to be part of it.”
The Washington Antiques Show, Washington, D.C., has announced that First Lady Laura Bush will serve as the Honorary Chairperson for the 47th annual charitable event, January 3-6, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. “The annual event is an excellent example of how volunteers can make a difference in their communities, ” said Mrs Bush. The show will bring together 45 antiques dealers from around the country.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., has published its first online catalogue raisonné at www.nga.gov/gemini in conjunction with the current exhibition, “Best Impressions: 35 Years of Prints and Sculpture from Gemini G.E.L.” In addition to a searchable database of more than 1,900 images in in-depth entries, the site also includes a guide for understanding the fields used within the database, an essay on the history of Gemini art and artists, and a glossary of print and sculpture terms and techniques.
Mary Helen McCoy, owner of Mary Helen McCoy Antiques, Birmingham, Ala., has been elected to the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, headquartered in Paris, France. The Sundicat National des Antiquaires (SNA), which was created in 190, is a grouping of more than 400 professionals unified by an ethical code, the principles of which are based upon authenticity, quality and honour. Its members identify themselves by the symbol of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires.
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