Published: May 29, 2001
Trade News from around the World
Marei von Saher, of Greenwich, Conn, is the sole living heir of Jacques Goudstikker, the foremost collector and dealer of Old Masters in pre-World War II Holland. She was married to Goudstikker’s son. The first painting from that collection, seized by the Nazis, a 1520 oil canvas by Dutch pre-Renaissance painter J. W. de Cock entitled “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” has been voluntarily returned by the estate of Hertha Katz, who purchased the painting from a gallery in the 1950s, after the Katz family was informed by Christie’s auction house that the work was stolen. The painting was to have been sold by Christie’s in January. But Christie’s has a policy of submitting its catalogs to the Art Loss Register before each sale to make sure works are not stolen, and the registry spotted the Goudstikker painting. “This happy reunion is proof that the system works,” Stephen Lash, chairman of Christie’s in North and South America, told Katherine Roth of the Associated Press.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, plans to launch a $425 million capital campaign this fall, by far the most ambitious fund-raiser in the museum’s history, writes AP’s Theo Emery. The five-year drive, which the 125-year-old museum’s board of directors approved at a May 24 meeting, will pay for a major expansion, including an expanded east wing, a covered sculpture courtyard, new educational facilities and renovated galleries. Museum spokeswoman Dawn Griffin said that the plans are as historic as the museum’s 1909 move from its original Copley Square location to Huntington Avenue. Of the total campaign goal, $180 million is designated for a building fund that includes construction, art relocation and reinstallation, management and landscaping. Another $180 million will go to endow programs, staff positions and new initiatives. The remaining $65 million will fund operations and special contingencies.
The Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Conn., is acquiring the only major private collection of Connecticut artwork dating from the late 1700s to the 1920s. The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. announced May 24 that it is donating its set of 188 paintings and other works of art to the Old Lyme museum next year. The collection includes landscapes by Frederick Childe Hassam and still lifes by Charles Ethan Porter, a Hartford artist whose pieces recently re-emerged from obscurity. Portraits of Eighteenth Century citizens are among the earliest artworks in the collection. The museum’s holding will increase by 20 percent, says the Associated Press. Its focus will widen from the Lyme Art Colony of 100 years ago to a statewide scope of many styles and eras.
According to AP, the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pa., has won a court order allowing it to display paintings outside its suburban Philadelphia gallery. The tour, the first since a mid-1990s traveling exhibit that drew record crowds to museums worldwide, will be limited to paintings kept in storage and hung in the foundation’s administrative offices. While it is unclear how much interest the paintings will generate, the foundation estimates that it will make $500,000 from lending or touring the works by 2003.
Jianping Mei, a finance professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, with colleague Michael Moses, created the Mei/Moses Fine Art Index. The index starts in 1875, charts the dramatic rise in prices from World War II until 1990, when a recession doused the surging market for European and American masterpieces. As AP’s Sara Silver reports, from a baseline value of 100, the market peaked in 1990 at 2,476 before dropping 20 percent over the next four years. By last year, art prices had fully recovered, reaching a level of 2,566, although the Impressionist works still lag behind their top performance, according to the index. “Art is a wonderful long-term store of value, like real estate, whose value has increased greatly over the last century,” said Moses. “As an investment, art gives a return comparable to government bonds, plus you have something nice to hang on your wall.” Moses, a collector of postwar American art and an expert in Eighteenth Century Newport furniture, jokes that he initially invested in art so he wouldn’t have to ride the emotional roller coaster of the stock market. Later, however, he decided that he could systematically measure changes in the overall market with a comprehensive database of the prices that paintings fetched at public auctions. Thirteen years ago, Moses began tracking Impressionist, American and Old Master paintings that had been sold since 1950 at New York’s largest auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Trawling through dusty catalogs at the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Moses’ team was able to trace the purchase prices of 4,500 of those paintings, some as back as far as 1675.
The New-York Historical Society has announced the appointment of Kenneth T. Jackson as its new president. Jackson has taught history since 1968 at Columbia University, where he is the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences.
Weeks after the death of artist Morris Graves – the last of the so-called “Northwest Mystics” who came to prominence in the 1950s – his Skagit County, Wash. studio-retreat burned to the ground. Property caretaker Terry Smith died in May 24’s fire, Chief Mike Noyes of Skagit County Fire District 11 told the Associated Press.
Owsley Brown Frazier, one of Louisville, Ky.’s wealthiest residents, plans to open a $20 million museum to feature his collection of antique guns and rifles. The Frazier Historical Arms Museum, set to open in late 2002 or early 2003, at Ninth and Main streets. It will be the latest addition to an area that is developing into a tourist and entertainment district and includes the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Louisville Science Center. Along with Frazier’s multi-million-dollar gun collection, the museum will house a gift shop and an 1850s-style saloon serving food and old-fashioned drinks such as sarsaparilla. The collection will include a rifle that once belonged to President Theodore Roosevelt and a handgun given to Gen. George Custer, reports AP.
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