Thursday, March 26, 2009

Openness for everyone else but us....

A federal judge in Manhattan has spoken out about a claimant's decision to keep mum about the details of a recent restitution case involving the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Last month, the two museums agreed to a settlement under which they would continue to own two Picasso paintings in their collections and would pay the heirs of the works' original owner, Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, to settle the dispute.

The heirs demanded that the terms remain confidential, a decision the judge, Jed S. Rakoff, questioned when the settlement was announced, citing the museums' public roles and the gravity of the case.
Read the report here.

Baker Artist Award Winners

Congrats to all the Baker Award winners, which were announced yesterday evening in Baltimore.

Carl Grubbs, who is the jazz band director at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Hadieh Shafie, a multimedia artist who works as director of career services at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and John Ruppert, a sculptor and chairman of the department of art at the University of Maryland, College Park, were the three winners of the Mary Sawyers Baker awards. The winners were selected through a private juried process and will each receive $25,000.

Another seven artists were named winners of $1,000 "Baltimore's Choice" awards, which were selected by public online voting.

You can see all the award winners here.

When countries go bad...

Yale University has gone to court in a preemptive attempt to protect its claim to an 1888 Van Gogh painting in its collection, Business Week reports.

“The Night CafĂ©,” which entered the university collection in 1961 through a bequest from alumnus Stephen Carlton Clark, once belonged to the great Russian collector Ivan Morozov. Russia nationalized his holdings during the revolution and later sold the work.

According to Yale’s suit, Pierre Konowaloff, a Paris-based man purporting to be Morozov’s grandson, last year asserted through a lawyer that he owned the painting and sent a draft complaint of a federal suit. Konowaloff argues that the Soviet nationalization of property was illegal and that the painting is the rightful property of his great-grandfather and his estate.
Read the report here.

Earlier when I discussed that fact that all the nationalized stolen Cuban artwork which has subsequently been sold by the Cuban dictatorship (mostly to French museums) would one day be subject to claims by the rightful owners, I completely forgot about Russia's earlier nationalizing theft of privately owned artwork which was then subsequently sold by the evil empire.

And in this wide open arena where governments left and right are suing institutions for the return of their national patrimonies, the writing is on the wall.

That's the way you do it...

Sotheby’s has cut CEO William F. Ruprecht’s salary for 2009 and eliminated his cash bonus for 2008 after a sharp fall in the house's profits...
Details here.