Anna Somers Cocks thinks so:
Anna Somers Cocks thinks so:
Here’s a documentary produced by Genevieve Savage on the tension between the Detroit Institute of Art and Detroit’s financial difficulty. A really nice examination I think, with interviews with actual Detroiters.
The University of London is testing the deaccession waters, tentatively planning to auction four early Shakespeare folios. They were gifted to the University’s Senate House Library in 1956. The proposal to sell them has drawn the usual arguments about commodification of rare objects, and the possible reticence of future donors to donate their rare possessions: Continue reading “University of London Considering a Deaccession of Shakespeare Folios”
|Georgia O’Keeffe Radiator Building|
In a 2-1 decision Fisk University has won an appeal against the state of Tennessee which will allow it to sell a partial share in works of art to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. The Tennessean reports today that the proceeds from the sale can be used as Fisk sees fit, it will not have to set aside 2/3 ($20 million) of the proceeds to care for the art. This is the latest, but not the last ruling in a dispute which has been ongoing since Fisk decided in 2004 to help offset its financial difficulties by selling works of art donated by Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband Albert Stieglitz.
Fisk officials called the ruling a victory: “On behalf of the many students who attend and the faithful alumni and friends, we look forward to working out the details with the Chancery Court and the (Tennessee) Attorney General,” said Fisk President Hazel R. O’Leary. We will never know for certain whether O’Keeffe would have approved of the sale of part of the collection, and as a consequence sharing the art in the South equally between Fisk and Crystal Bridges makes good sense for the University and the Museum, and art patrons in the South. It seems an interesting bit of timing that just as the Court of Appeals released its decision, Crystal Bridges is opening as well. The long legal battle is nearly done, as it will now be up to The State Attorney General, Fisk and the Chancery Court of Davidson County to work out the final arrangements for the sale in accordance with the latest appellate ruling.
|The Cardo Maximus in Apamea in Syria|
On a two-week trip to Paris, Mr. Lacoursière found himself loitering in the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, which were in so many ways the exact opposite of his beat at home where he toured the dirtiest corners of the human psyche. He returned to Montreal, vowing to find a way to incorporate his long-time love of art with his police work. So he enrolled in an art history night course at a local university.
She has a fellowship in the department of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and is head of the department of antiquities in the breakaway territory of Somaliland, in the north-west region of Somalia. She is the only archaeologist working in the region.
It’s a remarkable journey for a girl who fled Mogadishu in 1991, aged 14, as Somalia descended into the chaos of civil war. Driving her forward is the urge to uncover and preserve a cultural heritage that has been systematically looted, both in colonial times and more recently by warlords trading national heritage for guns.
|“Countess Kuefstein at the Easel” by Anton Romako will stay at the Leopold|
The Leopold Museum in Vienna has reached an undisclosed settlement with the heir of a Jewish “construction entrepreneur” who had his collection of art seized by the Gestapo some time before 1941. In order to pay the settlement and others, the museum will have to sell two other paintings by Egon Schiele. No one is talking of these sales in terms of deaccession, but that is what they are doing. Those Schiele works were surely in the public trust:
The Leopold Museum is selling an Egon Schiele painting, “Houses With Colorful Washing,” at a Sotheby’s (BID) auction on June 22. The cityscape is expected to fetch as much as $50 million, a record for the artist.The revenue will help to pay for “Wally,” a portrait by Schiele that was the subject of a decades-long restitution dispute. In July last year, the museum agreed to pay $19 million to the heirs of the Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray to keep the portrait, which was stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s.Last month, the Leopold Museum agreed to pay $5 million to the granddaughter of Jenny Steiner, a Jewish silk-factory owner, to keep in its collection “Houses by the Sea,” another Schiele painting that was stolen by the Nazis.
So asks Boston University Law Prof. Alan Field in a piece on SSRN: Who Are the Beneficiaries of Fisk University’s Stieglitz Collection? Here is the abstract:
Most fiduciary relationships determine with specificity the beneficiaries of the fiduciary’s activities. Not-for-profit entities, however, serve a class of unspecified beneficiaries and can exercise discretion in determining who to serve and how to serve them. This paper explores the limits of discretion that recent litigation established for Fisk University in balancing its educational mission and its administration of a valuable art collection donated decades earlier. The paper analyzes the case as it addresses respect for donor conditions, changes in circumstance, standing issues, the doctrine of cy pres and the designation of the appropriate class of public beneficiaries. Race and geography also play contributing roles.
Well worth a read. Donn Zaretsky finds it “much more interesting” than the Attorney General’s brief in the very long legal battle over the present disposition of the collection.
So says Fisk University in response to the Tennessee State Attorney Generals proposal for disposition of the Fisk-Stieglitz Collection. In a proposal filed Friday in the Chancery Court Attorney General Robert Cooper would have the Tennessee Arts Commission take temporary possession of the collection. Fisk University is seeking approval in Chancery Court for the approval of a partial sale of the collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville Arkansas for $30 million. Lee Rosenbaum notes that the Tennessee AG’s proposal would “honor donor Georgia O’Keeffe’s expressed wishes and do justice to a celebrated collection that was under-utilized at Fisk (which, for a time, had placed the Stieglitz Collection in storage at the Frist). But the deal would leave Fisk without its coveted $30-million windfall from Crystal Bridges”.
This means the Chancery court will now have to weigh the sale of a partial interest in the collection in Arkansas in a move which might allow Fisk University to avoid closing for good against a plan which would keep the art in Nashville year-round but give very little compensation to the University.
Donn Zaretzky, like Fisk University, is not a fan of the AG’s proposed Nashville-first settlement:
This of course does nothing (or very little) for Fisk, but, as we all know, benefiting Fisk was not part of O’Keeffe’s intent when she gave the Collection to Fisk. She could care less about Fisk! In fact she hated Fisk! What she really cared about was the People of Nashville. If Fisk goes under, hey, stuff happens. Not our problem. Our problem — as Lovers of Art — is to see to it that the donor’s intent is always satisfied. And obviously in this case O’Keeffe would have preferred that the works be shown at the Frist Center than have Fisk share the Collection with the Crystal Bridges Museum. So this is a Good Day For Art: the works will be leaving Fisk, but instead of going to Museum A, they will be going to Museum B, which is much better. Obviously.
A decisions of sorts has been reached in the case remanded to Davidson County Chancery Court in Tennessee in which Fisk University sought permission to sell an interest in the Stieglitz Collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum. Lee Rosenbaum has done some terrific reporting on this decision here and here, and posted the decision online (embedded below). The end result? The court is open to the sale, but also wants to hear more about whether there is an option to keep the art in Nashville.
The Brodsky Bill looks to be dead for now. The bill would have made it more difficult for cultural institutions to deaccession parts of their collection. Many of the prohibitions contemplated under the bill are already in place by regulations promulgated by the New York state Board of Regents and to a lesser extent by the AAMD. As a result at least Donn Zaretsky won’t be shedding any tears for the bill. The bill was criticized by the Met and a number of other institutions like zoos and public libraries which would have faced unintended difficulties with certain aspects of the legislation as well.
You can read what I think of all this in more detail here.