6
   

Art as an Investment

 
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 08:03 pm
Ah, another Martin Lawrence alumni! I was the director of the Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach gallery through 1994. Never did represent the majority of their art as anything but decorative with no potential investment value. However, they did inventory some De Kooning prints, published Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf and handled a lot of Warhol prints which were beyond their usual fare of decorative art. Yes, they are still around, having been bought by Erte's publishers, Chalk and Vermilion. They're right around the corner from the gallery I work for and it's the same director from about ten years ago. I never found that decorator art was stigmitized except by individual sales people who want to close a deal for a commission by representing the art as having investment potential. That's actually now against the law.

Of course, there is good and bad in decorative art and I don't find you can talk people into buying anything they don't like (or love for that matter). Works the same for more serious art.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 09:30 pm
Thanks for the info LW. The director of the MLG branch I worked for had her own little sales system, I don't think it was supplied by the corporation. Very high pressure. I was required to get at least 6 people into the private showing room per day. I already had a sales background and I agree that you can't twist the arm of a buyer to get their money. The required technique did work on the tourist trade and I ended up selling a lot of wall decor. I only lasted about 6 months in 1989 and I thought some of the product was good - it was that damn requirement to drag people into the viewing room that made me feel like a sleazy art pimp and propelled me out of there.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 07:58 am
acquiunk. Thanks for the correct title for the chair. I googled the info cause I keep a file on "Famous fakes". I was amazed at how many of the experts got bamboozled by the woek. When I saw it on display at Winterthur, they had a series of acompanying graphics that showed the "problems" with the chAIR. once shown these areas, its easy to see .
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 08:17 am
Green Witch wrote:
Thanks for the info LW. The director of the MLG branch I worked for had her own little sales system, I don't think it was supplied by the corporation. Very high pressure. I was required to get at least 6 people into the private showing room per day. I already had a sales background and I agree that you can't twist the arm of a buyer to get their money. The required technique did work on the tourist trade and I ended up selling a lot of wall decor. I only lasted about 6 months in 1989 and I thought some of the product was good - it was that damn requirement to drag people into the viewing room that made me feel like a sleazy art pimp and propelled me out of there.


Daniel Crosby who was high up in the company is now one of the reps for Grace Slick. Obviously the high pressure, get people into the closing room didn't work very well for them, did it? They went bankrupt in 1996 with Chalk as their largest creditor who made a deal to buy the galleries by none other than Daniel Crosby. I never would allow any of my salespeople to use high pressure techniques -- the sales presentation was the most important and if one did a good job there, they would sell. We were consistantly in the top three.
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 09:33 am
farmerman wrote:
acquiunk. Thanks for the correct title for the chair. I googled the info cause I keep a file on "Famous fakes". I was amazed at how many of the experts got bamboozled by the woek.



Here is a short description of the incident by an "expert" at Brown U. who knows all parties concerned and obviously has a bias. I have worked with and in museum for 30 years and have met many curators who were very knowledgable, excellent teachers and colleagues, good friends and from whom I learned much. But many of them also set my teeth on edge. I can understand the reasons why that chair was faked.

incidently "furniture restorer" is a slight or put down and illustrative of the entire problem.

Nor is there always a profit motive. One local restorer of antique
furniture here, a decade or two ago, had his nose put out of joint
once to often by some museum curator and decided to take revenge on
the entire profession. His specialty was early American furniture, and
in that field the "holy grail" is something called a Great Brewster
Chair (made at Plymouth soon after the pilgrims arrived). Two are
known and have excellent provenances. As is common with "holy grails"
in all fields of interest to museums, there have long been rumors of a
third Great Brewster Chair. Our restorer of furniture made a replica
Chair, using 17th-century wood and old tools, invented a plausible 350
years of history for it, put it through those 350 years by about 3
years of intense work in his workshop, and was ready to roll. (He
deliberately, however, used a modern bit to drill the holes in which
the rungs of the chair were inserted; and he carefully saved all the
pieces which had apparently gone lost due to hard usage over 350
years.) He then took this masterpiece out to one of the islands off
the Massachusetts coast, where a friend owned an early 18th century
house; and they set it out on the front porch, all battered and dirty.
The first roving antique scout who happened to drive by screeched to a
halt, spent the better part of the afternoon dealing for lesser
antiques at prices way above the normal market value, and then, as the
sun was setting and he was getting ready to depart, asked casually,
"By the way, what about that old chair on your porch?" The answer
was, "Oh that? That's a piece of junk. I had been thinking about
burning it. You may have it for free." [Observe, O reader, that no
fraud has been committed in the legal sense of the term.] Over the
next several years the chair passed from dealer to dealer, from
auction to auction, ever increasing in price, until it finally came to
rest in one of the premier museums for early American furniture. Then
our local craftsman called a press conference, produced the missing
pieces, stated that were one to pull out the rungs, one would find
that the sockets in which they fitted had been made with a tool that
had been invented only in the 20th century, and watched the fur
fly.... He had, I am told, the satisfaction -- pretty thin, by my
lights, but pleasing to him -- of utterly destroying at least one
curator's career without committing any crime that could be proven in
any court of law; which was what he had set out to do (he didn't much
care who got hurt, so long as somebody did). The chair, after a
period of seclusion, is now once again on display at the museum, as
the centerpiece in an exhibit on *forgeries* of early American
furniture (a large and usually profitable industry, albeit criminal)!
I do not know what the former curator is doing now, but the furniture
restorer continues to practice his craft and prosper.

Robert Mathiesen
Brown University


Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1992
http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/cdl/1992/0300.html
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:03 pm
I just found this thread again - looking forward to rereading. Geez, I find the first page charming... and, besides, it was lightwizard who multiply emailed me with nags to check out a2k, bless his heart.


( Just now, I was off on a Search about the Getty and its personnel, but ne'er mind).
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:12 pm
@ossobuco,
Nothings really changed, either.

Are you looking for someone in the curating department at the Getty?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:26 pm
@Lightwizard,
I think that at some point we talked about the woman indicted in Italy , or maybe not - I looked at a2k before going to google, which I still haven't done - and then found the thread. I don't think that situation makes tsarstephan's biggest fraud list, but I thought at the time that it was representative of a pattern.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:13 pm
@ossobuco,
The big commercial chain scandals of the 80's and 90's like Upstairs Gallery, Circle Galleries, Austin Galleries, the fake manufactured French chalets at the California chain which I've momentarily forgotten, and, of course, the Dali fake scandal, especially telemarketing, which I've gone over before are just some of the low points of illegal and extra-legal transactions by art dealers. But the outstanding news story was the 1989 Tony Tetro forgery scandal which prompted the PBS art forgery documentary narrated by Richard Dreyfus. He's even got a website:

http://tonytetro.com/id6.html

Buying art is still for the educated, intelligent, knowledgeable and seasoned collector -- otherwise, one should buy it because one likes it, or loves it, or whatever rocks one's world is, and it goes with the sofa. Even though the FBI investigations of the 80's led to laws forbidding telling customers there is any investment potential in buying a piece of art is still being slid past by greedy art salespeople (affectionately called "art consultants," even in the most pedestrian mall gallery). But I've had high end, reputable dealers cross over that line. The best way to handle it might be to tell them you want to see their "art investment crystal ball" so you can shove it where the sun don't shine.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:36 pm
@Lightwizard,
I can only nod to your experience, and my reading.

I've had two galleries, both lame on any scope you'd look at.
Sort of galleries of innocente.

In my last gallery we did serve those who wanted a real painting they liked in their home. No prints. (Okay, one artist with past prints, out of some number like sixty).
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:39 pm
@ossobuco,
But. we haven't solved the Woman at the Getty.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:53 pm
@ossobuco,
Reads like the title for a Picasso painting! Wink
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:58 pm
@Lightwizard,
All right, I'll try to work that up..
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 03:23 pm
@ossobuco,
A fake, you mean -- hey part of Tony Tetro's problem was doing a Van Gogh and when a Japanese collector became interested, he had some research done and found that title in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, subsequently matching up the images. For all we know, one of the Getty's had his wife or, dare I mention, mistress painted by Picasso and it's in their private collection, never seen by the public.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 03:24 pm
(If it is a nude, it would then be pubic never seen in public).
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 05:30 pm
@Lightwizard,
OK, now I'm going to do some googleing, she announces. This was somebody like a senior curator (or higher in the hierarchy) involved in apparent fraud, oh, maybe in the early 2000's.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 05:35 pm
@ossobuco,
Well, that was easy to find.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article574368.ece

Now to see if I can find out what the resolution was..
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 05:45 pm
@ossobuco,
Wiki on Marion True -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_True

Marion True (born November 5, 1948) is the former curator of antiquities of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, she studied at New York University and has a PhD from Harvard.[1][2] True was trained by Cornelius Clarkson Vermeule III, contemporary scholar of ancient art and curator of classical art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 1957 to 1996.
In 2005 True was indicted by the Italian government, together with renowned American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht Jr., for conspiracy to traffic in illicit antiquities. The primary evidence in the case came from the 1995 raid of a Geneva, Switzerland warehouse which had contained a fortune in stolen artifacts. Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici was eventually arrested in 1997; his operation was thought to be "one of the largest and most sophisticated antiquities networks in the world, responsible for illegally digging up and spiriting away thousands of top-drawer pieces and passing them on to the most elite end of the international art market"[3]. Medici was sentenced in 2004 by a Rome court to ten years in prison and a fine of 10 million euros, "the largest penalty ever meted out for antiquities crime in Italy"[4]. The court hearings of the case against True and Hecht continue. In a letter to the J. Paul Getty Trust on December 18, 2006, True stated that that she is being made to "carry the burden" for practices which were known, approved, and condoned by the Getty's Board of Directors [5].
On November 20, 2006, the Director of the museum, Michael Brand, announced that 26 disputed pieces were to be returned to Italy.
On September 26, 2007, Getty Center signed a contract with the Italian culture ministry in Rome to return stolen arts from Italy.[6] 40 ancient art works will be returned including: the 5th Century BC Aphrodite limestone and marble statue, in 2010; fresco paintings stolen from Pompeii, marble and bronze sculptures and Greek vases. Dr. Marion True is on trial in Italy on conspiracy lawsuits in the looting. Some cases against True are being dismissed: because the statute of limitations had expired, she was acquitted of charges relating to the acquisition of a 2,500 year old funerary wreath which was shown to have been looted from northern Greece.[7] The wreath in question had already been returned to Greece. True could still be found guilty in other pending cases.




Which brings up the Medici guy. A friend who is pretty smart about italian history tells me the Medici died out, while scoffing about a certain cookbook author. I have no idea on this myself, what will all those papal and other sexual endeavors - though I recently finished Hibbert's book on them and came to a similar impression.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 09:39 pm
@ossobuco,
Yes, I remember that -- ironic last name, for sure.

Capitalism is basically, after all, everyone on the take. Most keep within ethical boundaries, however those who cross the line usually say, "What the hell," might as well go all the way. This is what happened in the investment banking industry and it was due to a lot of one bank setting up another to fall. We all should know now who the main culprits are because they've taken over. Will much be done about it? No, because that would pull the bottom card out of the stack. Anybody who has had the fantasy that our economy is a brick building are beginning to realize there's a lot of Aces and Kings in the actual structure. People know enough about finance, if just from their own personal experiences, but art -- now that's an entirely different story. The majority of people are vulnerable here and this draws the predatory professional on the take, and if the usual weapons don't work, they will bring out the big guns. Caveat emptor.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 10:37 pm
@Lightwizard,
I remember reading about all of that business with M. True at the time, but have a sievelike retention capacity - I'm not clear that she didn't have higher up support, as I almost remember the names. Don't trust me though. This may force me to do some scouring of the LATimes, egads.
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 04/02/2020 at 12:26:42