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March 2014

Museum: The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) issued sanctions against the Maier Museum of Art (Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA) following its deaccessioning and sale of a George Bellows’ painting. Reportedly, proceeds from the $25.5 million purchasing price will go to the college’s operating fund. According to the AAMD “sale of works of art from museum collections for such purposes is a violation of one of the most fundamental professional principles of the art museum field.” Randolph College museum is not one of the 232 members of AAMD. In response, college stated that ” College’s Board of Trustees is also charged with protecting the interests of this college and our future.” The sanctions ask AAMD members to suspend loans of artworks to and any collaboration with the Maier Museum of Art. Notably, no sanctions for failing to research and report provenance of art works in the AAMD member collections issued to date.

Gurlitt Art works linked to Hildabrand Gurlitt, a German art dealer and historian who traded and collected art during the Nazi era, keep reappearing following the discovery of the vast art trove in possession of Cornelius Gurlitt, Hildabrand’s son. Consisting of more than a thousand works by Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, and others, that were kept hidden in Germany and Austria, it was confiscated by Bavarian authorities.

Predictably, Cornelius was not the only one in possession of paintings his father acquired under questionable circumstances. A number of these paintings are hanging in German museums today. Others like, Jules Pascin’s L’Atelier du Peintre Grossman, were acquired through forced sale. Paskin’s painting for example left Gurlitt’s possession sometime between 1945 and 1972, when it was offered for sale at Christie’s in 1972, ultimately resting in the hands of Joel and Carol Honigberg. A restitution claim by the believed original owner Julius Ferdinand Wolff’s heirs is a possibility.

Read: David D’Arcy, “Painting acquired by Gurlitt turns up in Chicago home,” The Arts Newspaper, March 2014, at 4.; Philip Oltermann, “Picasso, Matisse and Dix among works found in Munich’s Nazi art stash,” The Guardian, November 6, 2013.

Cy Twombly Last year in March, half of the officers in charge of the Cy Twombly Foundation filed a suit against the Foundation’s financial advisor for unauthorized investment fees. The dispute between the Foundation directors is now settled.

“The settlement – involving Ralph E. Lerner, a prominent art-world lawyer and one of the foundation’s four directors; and another director, Thomas H. Saliba, a financial adviser – was approved on Thursday night in chancery court in Delaware. The full terms of the settlement are confidential, but they involve Mr. Lerner and Mr. Saliba resigning their positions, and Mr. Lerner dropping a lawsuit he had filed in the same Delaware court asking a judge to intervene in the foundation’s dispute, saying that it had become deadlocked.”

Read: Settlement Reached in Cy Twombly Foundation Lawsuit (TNYT, March 14, 2014).