Published: August 21, 2001
Trade News from around the World
Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times reports that the F.B.I. is currently looking into dealer complaints against the Lewis W. Hine expert, photographer and former Brooklyn College professor Walter Rosenblum involving the creation and sale of posthumous prints from Hine’s negatives. “Although the tests do not show who perpetrated the fraud, people who bought from Mr. Rosenblum link him to the forgeries,” writes Blumenthal. “They point to a series of incidents, including a letter he signed attesting that he witnessed Hine sign a photograph that tests showed was printed decades after his death.” Hine, a Social Realist, is best known for his images of immigrants and child laborers.
Mr Blumenthal also reviews an outline for the defense of A. Alfred Taubman, Sotheby’s former chairman and majority shareholder, in The New York Times on August 18. Taubman’s lawyers argued several points in Manhattan’s Federal District Court, attacking, writes Blumenthal, “the underpinnings of a cooperation agreement between federal prosecutors and Christie’s and an arrangement by Christie’s to pay $7 million to its former chief executive, a crucial prosecution witness,” and asking that “evidence that Sir Anthony [Tennant]’s lawyer had told prosecutors about a conversation in which Mr. Taubman related that he had said he could not hold discussions that violated the antitrust law” be given to the defense.
A woman who threatened to sue Ironwood Antiques over the payment she received for a toy truck has received more money and now says she will not press charges, reports AP. The 74-year-old woman, who lives in Norwich and Groton, Conn., received a check August 15 for $11,120 from dealer Joel Bergeron. The check supplements a $500 payment she got from Bergeron after he sold her rare 24-inch Buddy “L” Jr. dairy truck on eBay. Bergeron originally told her the truck sold for $650, when it actually sold for $16,000. Bergeron got a $150 commission for selling the truck. He said that he lied to the woman about the sale price because the eBay deal with a Florida collector was shaky, and he didn’t want to be on the hook for the full amount if the deal fell through.
An anonymous donor has given the Maine State Museum $1 million, Augusta, Me., the largest private gift received by the institution. “It’s wonderful. We were first contacted by an out-of-state lawyer, and after we answered a number of questions, we were then contacted by the Maine Community Foundation,” Joseph R. Phillips, the museum’s director, told the Associated Press. The foundation will administer a permanent endowment which will allow the staff and trustees to spend up to 5 percent of the principal and annual appreciation each year.
The Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., has announced that the Fogg Art Museum acquired a seminal painting by Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963). The painting, “La Baie de l’Estaque” (Bay of l’Estaque), was created in 1908 and marks a pivotal moment in the development of Cubism. As one of the earliest Cubist paintings, “La Baie de l’Estaque” provides the museums with an extraordinary resource for research and teaching of modern art. Scholars at the museums believe that “La Baie de l’Estaque” may be the work that Henri Matisse, writing in 1935, remembered as the first Cubist painting. It was painted at the very beginning of Braque’s historic 1908 summer trip to l’Estaque, the same southern French village in which Paul Cezanne had painted important landscapes in the 1880s.
They may be candidates for the next “Bad Art” exhibition, but it appears four watercolors by Adolf Hitler will remain in the hands of the US government. “In a 17-page decision,” writes The New York Times’ William H. Honan, “a [federal appeals court’s] three-judge panel concluded that the government had the right to keep the watercolors, which were seized at the end of World War II, because it was never the government’s intent to return them to their owner. Because they were the work of Hitler, the Army seized the four rather ordinary landscapes as potentially provocative.”
Anthony G. Hirschel will become the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s new director and CEO effective November 12. Hirschel, 43, will succeed Bret Waller, who is retiring after 11 years with the museum. Waller will be designated director emeritus of the IMA and will continue to serve in an advisory capacity following his retirement. Hirschel will be only the 10th director in the museum’s 118-year history. Born in Detroit, he comes to the IMA from the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Atlanta’s Emory University, where he has served as director since 1997.
The Heritage Center Museum, Lancaster, Pa., announces the acquisition and donation of a number of important rdf_Descriptions to its permanent collection. Ella Rohrer Peterson of Lancaster presented an important jacquard-woven coverlet made by John R. Gebhart (circa 1808-?) who worked in Maytown (Lancaster County) for M.S. Hershey. M. Patricia Bowman of Harrisburg also gave two important Lancaster coverlets to the museum in addition to a number of other gifts. The first coverlet was made by Henry F. Stager (1820-1888) of Mount Joy Township (Lancaster County) and the second was by Jacob Witmer (circa 1814-1887) who was working in Manor Township. Both coverlets along with a number of other rdf_Descriptions including a watercolor of the Eli Mylin farm near Mount Joy, a quilted lady’s pocket from the 1840s, and an extremely rare sewing chest attributed to Joseph Lehn were presented to the museum in memory of Isaiah D. Stehman and Lillie V. Stehman (grandparents of the donor).
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