Published: June 15, 2004
Samuel Maull of the Associated Press reports that fine art dealer Jack Wright, 50, of Preston, Conn., who allegedly fled his home and eluded police when they tried to arrest him surrendered to face charges he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of paintings that had been consigned to him for sale. Preston turned himself in to the Manhattan district attorney a week after evading police, Assistant District Attorney Charles Curlett said during the defendant’s arraignment in state Supreme Court. Wright pleaded not guilty to second- and third-degree grand larceny charges before Justice Brenda Soloff, who set $125,000 bail and scheduled a hearing for next week. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Curlett said Wright, who has run galleries in Manhattan, Southampton, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla., is accused of stealing five paintings worth more than $500,000. He said detectives have information on other possible victims and believe Wright may have stolen money and art totaling more than $1 million.
The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), Boston, Mass., has changed its name to Historic New England. By expanding its membership program, creating new family friendly activities, enhancing its tour offerings and personalizing visitor services, Historic New England hopes to define how history museums can thrive in the Twenty-First Century.
Another name change has been announced in Kansas. In an effort to encompass the change and growth within the auction industry, the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) board of directors has voted unanimously to pursue a name change for the 55-year-old organization. The proposed new name is the National Auction Marketing Association (NAMA). “A name change will better reflect our constituency, our emphasis and our true mission,” said Larry Theurer, CAI, GPPA, president and chairman of the board. “In addition, it will help to educate the public about the true role of our professional organization.”
Las Vegas Casino developer Steve Wynn and his wife Elaine spent $8.8 million for one of John Singer Sargent’s best-known works, “Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife,” AP reports, referring to an article in The New York Times. Wynn plans to hang the painting in his new casino, Wynn Las Vegas, scheduled to open in 2005, the Times reported. The 1885 painting, which sold recently at Sotheby’s, is the second of three Sargent works portraying Stevenson, the Scottish novelist and poet.
Scaffolding will soon rise inside Boston’s Trinity Church at Copley Square as conservators begin restoring the priceless murals painted in 1876-1877 by artist John La Farge, a Nineteenth Century master recognized as the father of the American Mural Movement and for his key influence in reviving the art of stained glass. This work is part of a $53 million campaign to preserve the building’s priceless art and architecture.
According to AP, referring to an article in The New York Times, The Whitney Museum of American Art has renewed discussions about an expansion after more than a year, interviewing new architects including Italian designer Renzo Piano. “Our committee has met with a number of people, and we’re still deliberating,” Leonard A. Lauder, the Whitney’s chairman and head of its building committee, told the Times. Last year the museum withdrew its plans for a $200 million expansion designed by Rotterdam architect Rem Koolhaas, calling the project too expensive. Whitney officials have said they need to expand the museum’s home at Madison Avenue and 75th Street to provide a better showcase for a growing permanent collection and perhaps an auditorium for public events. The museum several years ago bought four nearby brownstones that would likely be demolished for the expansion.
Phillips Academy Head of School Barbara Landis Chase has announced the appointment of Brian T. Allen as the new director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the academy’s Andover, Mass., campus. Allen, who will take the reins of the Addison in August, currently serves as director of collections and exhibitions and curator of American art at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williams, Mass. His appointment completes a nine-month search to fill the job formerly held by Adam D. Weinberg, who left the Addison last summer to become director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
GoAntiques.com, Columbus, Ohio, an online sales network for arts, antiques and collectibles, is now offering its members live auction selling and bidding on eBay Live Auctions. The company said it is offering the service with no listing or reserve fees and a 30-day free membership. More than 50 GoAntiques auctions are planned for 2004, including porcelain and pottery, glass, fine and period jewelry, silver, furniture, lighting, carpet and decorative accessories and arts, antiques and collectibles.
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