Keep your Friends Close — Foundations In Dispute Over Artists’ Funds
Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) are two of the best known 20th century american artists. Recognized for their works during their lifetimes, both established charitable foundations for charitable purposes. In 2013, the Foundations have
Bill Goldston, Bennet Grutman and Darryl Pottorf are the plaintiffs, according to the lawsuit. The trustees, who originally filed suit in 2011, are Rauschenberg’s longtime friends and business partners.
Rauschenberg dispute is unfurling in a Florida court in Lee County. At his death, Rauschenberg left a $600 million estate in the hands of three friends, including another artist, but now these trustees are suing to collect millions they say they’re owed.
In 1990, Rauschenberg created the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RFF) to promote awareness of the causes he cared about, such as world peace, the environment and humanitarian issues. He also set up Change, Inc., to award one-time grants of up to $1,000 to visual artists based on financial need. Rauschenberg’s will, filed in Probate Court on October 9, 2008, named his charitable foundation as a major beneficiary, along with Darryl Pottorf, Christopher Rauschenberg, Begneaud, his nephew Byron Richard Begneaud, andSusan Weil Kirschenbaum. The amounts to be given to the beneficiaries were not named, but the estate is “worth millions”, said Pottorf, who is also executor of the estate.
The RRF today owns many works by Rauschenberg from every period of his career. In 2011, the foundation, in collaboration with Gagosian Gallery, presented “The Private Collection of Robert Rauschenberg”, selections from Rauschenberg’s personal art collection; proceeds from the collection helped fund the endowment established for the foundation’s philanthropic activities.
Source: News Press; “Rauschenberg Foundation Battles Trustees’ Claims of $60-Million Fees” The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Aug. 22, 2013).