Published: April 20, 2004
According to the Associated Press, the executive director of the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Mont., has been fired. The board of trustees made the announcement on March 26. Director Inez Wolins served just two years. In three years, the museum has gone through two executive directors, settled out of court a wrongful discharge lawsuit with its former longtime Curator of Art Elizabeth Dear and turned over virtually its entire staff because of resignations. The museum, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003, is one of the world’s leading Western art museums, home to a permanent collection of art spanning the creative life of Charlie Russell. Wolins’ credibility was questioned when it was reported she had resigned under pressure from a previous position as director of the Harn Museum at the University of Florida. The Gainesville Sun newspaper reported Wolins had been asked to resign after university officials discovered she did not have the doctorate from New York University that was listed on her resume.
In Mineola, N.Y., Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon and Nassau County Department of Recreation, Parks and Museums Commissioner Doreen Banks have announced that a former Nassau County museum employee, charged last year in the theft of more than 100 rdf_Descriptions from the museum, has now been indicted for the theft and fraudulent sale of a model of the Wright Brothers airplane, which was ultimately purchased by the principal owner of the New York Jets. According to Dillon, “The defendant, Richard Kappeler, 56, is accused of stealing the model airplane, which museum representatives date as having been made in the early 1900s. He consigned it to Christie’s London, which then sold it to an agent for New York Jets owner Robert Wood Johnson for $100,642.72. In consigning the model to Christie’s, the defendant presented forged documents purporting to show that the model had been made by a mechanic for the Wright Brothers using material from the original plane.”
A hand-blown, Dale Chihuly glass sculpture valued at $50,000 was stolen from the Mockingbird Art Gallery, Bend, Ore., in mid-April, the third piece to vanish from the Bend gallery since November, AP reports. Titled “Moccasin Brown Desert Basket Set with Turquoise Blue Lip Wrap,” the work was taken by “an unkown suspect,” gallery owner Pamela Claflin told police.
New York City’s Gary Snyder has moved from Chelsea to an eastside townhouse where he will work as a private art dealer and be open by appointment only. Snyder opened Gary Snyder Fine Art in Chelsea in the spring of 2001. The gallery was formerly located on 57th Street and before that in Soho. Snyder is best known for his focus on modern American art rooted in the 1920s through the 1960s and for his championing of American artists less examined by conventional art history.
Muriel Mallin Berman, a prominent art collector and philanthropist known for commissioning and donating striking modern sculptures to hospitals, colleges and parks, died April 13 in her Allentown, Pa. home, AP reports. She was 89. The Pittsburgh native was the widow of Philip I. Berman, with whom she collaborated on many projects before his death in 1997 at age 82. The couple lent works from their art collection to US embassies and funded a workshop on making monumental sculpture.
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