Ex-Mass. museum CFO gets up to 5 years in prison

WORCESTER, Mass. – The former chief financial officer of a local museum has been sentenced to serve time in state prison in connection with embezzling more than $1.3 million from the institution, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Monday.

On May 5, 2010, Peggy Kempton, age 53, of Hollis, New Hampshire, pled guilty in Worcester Superior Court to charges of Larceny over $250 by Single Scheme (14 Counts), Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards (3 counts), and False Entries in Corporate Books. Today, Judge Richard T. Tucker sentenced Kempton to serve three to five years in State Prison, followed by ten years of probation. While on probation, Kempton must stay away and avoid all contact with her former employer and notify any future employers of her conviction. Judge Tucker also ordered that Kempton make full restitution in the amount of $1.3 million to the museum.

“This defendant abused her position of trust to defraud her employers and misuse charitable funds for her own personal gain,” AG Coakley said. “With today’s sentence she has been held accountable for her actions and has been ordered to pay full restitution back to the charity.”

In September 2008, the Attorney General’s Office began an investigation after Kempton’s activities were reported by her former employer. From July 1997 through February 2008, Kempton worked as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the museum. Her duties as CFO included managing the institution’s accounts payable and receivable, payroll and general ledger. On numerous dates between January 2002 and February 2008, Kempton stole funds from her employer to pay for over $1.3 million in personal purchases that Kempton and her children made using 14 different credit cards. One of the credit cards was in the name of a co-worker who had no knowledge that the card existed and was being used by Kempton.

Kempton also used “cash advance checks” from credit cards in the names of three co-workers to pay for personal purchases that Kempton made on her own credit cards. Kempton did this without the knowledge or authorization of the co-workers. Investigators also discovered that Kempton manipulated the financial records of her employer to make it appear that the employer’s funds that Kempton used to pay for personal purchases and other expenses were being used for legitimate expenses. Kempton reportedly spent the money she embezzled on antiques, trips, jewelry, and even college tuition.

A Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against Kempton on June 19, 2009. At that time, the indictments were sealed and a warrant was issued for Kempton’s arrest. Kempton surrendered herself to authorities on June 23, 2009, and was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court where she pled not guilty and was subsequently released on $5,000 cash bail. On May 5, 2010, Kempton pled guilty to all charges. On June 28, 2010 she was sentenced to serve three to five years in State Prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Shea for the Attorney General’s Corruption and Fraud Division. It was investigated by Financial Investigators Jessie Dean and Jim McFadden of the Financial Investigations Division, and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.

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Image by Andre Karwath. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.6 Generic License.

Hong Kong Auctions to host July 6 auction of fine wines

Image by Andre Karwath. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.6 Generic License.

Image by Andre Karwath. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.6 Generic License.

HONG KONG – On July 6, 2010, Hong Kong Auctions, will conduct a summer auction of fine and rare wines anchored by French and Hong Kong rare collections that include 1940s Bordeaux and Burgundies. The auction will be held at The Mira Hong Kong at 7 p.m. local Hong Kong time, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com.

The charity auction will feature more than 200 lots, from good-quality everyday wines for under $200 a bottle to high-end connoisseur’s wines in the $200,000-a-bottle range. Part of the proceeds will help raise funds for the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women.

The remarkable selection of wine that will be available at the auction includes a bottle of Moet & Chandon 1914 (estimate: HK$40,000-50,000), a bottle of Petrus 1928 (estimate: HK$180,000-220,000), a Marie-Jeanne of Château  Lafleur 1945 (estimate: HKD200,000-230,000), a Magnum of Château E’glise Clinet 1947 (estimate: HK$70,000-90,000) and a jeroboam of 1956 Château Mouton-Rothschild (estimate: HK$80,000-$100,000).

In addition to the good value grand cru NV and rare vintage champagnes, Hong Kong Auctions is proudly offering its own recommendation of the 1998 BIG7 Best Collection, an underrated vintage  (especially the Chardonnay Dominant Champagne), which is considered their best wine in decades. Highlights include a six-magnum lot of Vilmart & Cie Coeur De Cuvee Premier Cru 1998 (estimate: HK$14,000-18,000) and a case of 1998 Dom Perignon Prestige Cuvee (estimate: HK$16,000-18,000).

Among the lots is a selection of wine by Lou Dumont, established in 2000 by Koji Nakada and his wife Jae Hwa Park. It is special not only because of its Chinese character label, but also because of its focus on traditional wine making. The popular Lou Dumont wine has been favored by fans of the influential, globally circulated Japanese manga comic series about wine, “Les Gouttes de Dieu.” This sought-after collection of Lou Dumont 2007 wine, with an estimated price ranging from HK$5,000 to $17,000 for a case, is the company’s first commercially released wine in Hong Kong and China.

Hong Kong Auctions is pleased to offer a selection of horizontal vintage 1999 of both rouge and blanc Maison Leory and a private collection of venerable 1966-2005 Maison Remoissenet 1966-2005, including 18 Premier Crus and 16 Grand Crus.

Francesco Lee, Director of Wine Assessment and Consignment at Hong Kong Auctions, remarked: “The wines I selected for the upcoming auction are my favorite best-value fine wines, with a wide range of Champagnes, Bordeaux and Burgundies available. It is almost everyone’s dream to enjoy vintage wine…It is my dream to introduce wines to fulfill your wishes and imagination, while it is you who can make it come true. One of the characteristics of this collection is enjoyment. A large number of vintage wines were reconditioned by chateaux and recently released by chateaux and domaines such as Gruaud Larose 1947, Mouton Rothschild 1956, Close Fourtet 1959, and Remoissenet Collection.

“In light of the sharp rise in interest from Asian connoisseurs, we see the surge in demand for top-quality wine,” said Brian Hodgson, Managing Director of Hong Kong Auctions, who will be presiding over the July 6 event. “Hong Kong is well positioned to hold regular wine auctions given the proximity of Chinese buyers and its advantage as an untaxed city for wine. Given the interest in our last auction, held in Macau, we expect the auction price for some of the wines in the upcoming summer auction to be close to or exceed the record price (US$21,240) fetched for the Petrus vintage 1949.”

Oenophiles from around the world can take part in the upcoming sale at Hong Kong Auctions by bidding online through LiveAuctioneers.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Régence style commode sold for $24,000

Regency-style commode tops prices realized at Morton Kuehnert

Régence style commode sold for $24,000

Régence style commode sold for $24,000

HOUSTON – Beautiful furniture, paintings, rugs and porcelain found new homes with international buyers at Morton Kuehnert’s June 24 evening sale. Internet live bidding was provided by LiveAuctioneers.com

A phone bid provided the highlight of the evening as a $24,000 price was paid for a Régence-style commode that had been entered in the sale with an estimate of $10,000 to $12,000. All prices quoted include a 20% buyer’s premium.

The 120-lot sale included a marble fireplace mantel that sold for $4,800 (pre-auction estimate $2,500 to $3,000), a pair of European cut-crystal gilt-bronze candelabra selling for $1,800 (est. $500 to $700) and an 18th-century French chestnut server that sold for $3,480 (est. $1,200 to $1,500).

An exquisite gilded bronze rectangular velvet-lined chest realized $5,200 (est. $2,500 to $2,750), and a 19th-century Continental walnut and satinwood marquetry writing desk closed at $1,560 (est. $750 to $1,300).

Morton Kuehnert is now inviting consignments for a Sept. 23 catalog auctions. Photos and descriptions of items may be e-mailed to consignments@mortonkuehnert.com. To contact Morton Kuehnert’s staff, call 713-827-7835.

View the fully illustrated catalog from the June 24 auction, complete with prices realized, online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Exquisite gilded bronze rectangular velvet-lined chest sold for $5,200

Exquisite gilded bronze rectangular velvet-lined chest sold for $5,200

Lost art sells for $4.3 million at Paris auction

PARIS — The stash was hidden away in a Paris bank vault at the start of World War II and forgotten for decades. On Tuesday, the long-lost treasure trove of Renoirs, Cezannes, Degas, Gauguins and Picassos brought in euro3.5 million ($4.3 million) at auction in Paris. At today’s exchange rate, 1 euro = $1.218.

Sotheby’s offering of 139 works amassed by visionary Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who turned unknown artists into stars, was a sale art lovers had awaited for years, partly because of the collection’s history and mystique.

An Edgar Degas brothel scene — a monotype of prostitutes popping Champagne and wearing little besides their stockings — sold for euro516,750. A Pablo Picasso print of an emaciated couple drinking wine and eating bread brought the highest price of the night, euro720,750.

Many of the works sold are prints and drawings. They are in pristine condition, kept safe from light and damage in the bank vault, said Andrew Strauss, vice president of Sotheby’s Paris.

“In a way, people are buying directly from Vollard, one of the greatest dealers,” he said.

The tale leading up to the auction contains many twists and turns — and unsolved mysteries.

Vollard died in a car crash in 1939, two months before World War II broke out. Some of his collection came into the hands of a young Yugoslav acquaintance named Erich Slomovic, in circumstances still unclear.

Slomovic sent some of the collection home to Yugoslavia in diplomatic suitcases, and many of those works are held today by the National Museum in Belgrade. He put others in a vault at Societe Generale bank in Paris.

Then, Slomovic, a Jew, was killed by the Nazis in 1942. The bank vault was forgotten until 1979, when clerks opened it up, hoping to sell some of the contents off to recoup unpaid storage fees.

A sale was planned at Paris’ Drouot auction house in 1981 but was canceled by court order once Vollard’s heirs contested the sale. After a lengthy legal battle, a French court granted a small fraction of the works to Slomovic’s heirs and gave most to Vollard’s heirs. The dealer’s family handed their collection to Sotheby’s for sale.

The highest-profile piece was already sold in London last week. The 1905 painting “Arbres a Collioure” (Trees in Collioure) by French artist Andre Derain went for nearly 16.3 million pounds (nearly euro20 million.)

One of the highlights of Tuesday’s sale was a Paul Cezanne oil portrait of his childhood friend, the writer Emile Zola. But because of an error in the bidding process, it didn’t actually sell, Sotheby’s said.

The portrait is rare. Cezanne destroyed most of his portraits of Zola “because he didn’t think they were good enough,” said Samuel Valette, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and modern art in Paris.

Zola, whose friendship with Cezanne later soured, complained in a letter about the painter’s perfectionism: “Maybe Paul has the genius of a great painter, but he’ll never have the ability to become one. The slightest obstacle drives him to despair.”

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Associated Press writer Rachid Aouli in Paris contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

 

 

Alabama judge says former mayor, not city, owns painting

FOLEY, Ala. (AP) – A judge’s decision June 11 quietly ended a long-running fight here among former and current city officials over a painting of the biggest naval battle of a war that pitted neighbor against neighbor.

Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge Charles Partin ruled that former Mayor Arthur Holk loaned – but did not give – the 1941 painting of the Battle of Mobile Bay to the city.

The painting, created by John McCrady for the Grand Hotel at Point Clear, was appraised at $200,000 in 2008 by New Orleans art dealers. “I said all along that I’d never given up ownership,” Holk said. “I hated to take the stand that I did, but when they said they were going to sell it, I had to do something.”

Now, Holk said, “I’d like to put it where people can see it, but I’m not sure where that could be.”

Foley Mayor John Koniar said that after learning of Partin’s ruling, city officials canceled the insurance policy on the painting and municipal crews delivered it to Holk.

“We’re not going to appeal,” Koniar said. “We’re not going to spend any more money on it.”

Holk, who was mayor from 1976 until 1996, acquired the painting in the 1980s. The Grand Hotel’s new owners were remodeling and had taken down the framed picture, which is about 7 feet long, from the Bird Cage Lounge, he said.

“I’d seen it there and when my wife and I went by, we noticed it was gone,” Holk said. “I asked what had happened to it and the manager said he’d been told to get rid of it. He asked if I wanted it and I said I did. I went over the next day and got it.”

At that time, Foley had remodeled the library but had no money left to decorate it. Holk said he loaned the painting to the library.

The painting hung in the library for about 10 years, until 1998, when it was moved to the Foley Senior Center.

After Hurricane Ivan damaged the Senior Center in 2004, the painting was taken out and eventually placed in the break room of the Foley Public Works Department, according to court testimony.

The artwork had hung in the conference room of Foley City Hall from 2008 until the ruling.

In his ruling, Partin wrote, “It appears to the court that neither party was particularly interested in the painting other than as decoration until people began making inquiries about buying the painting and it was determined that it had a value of $200,000 or more.”

In 2008, City Council members said a $200,000 painting would cost $3,600 a year to insure. Rather than spend city funds on insurance, the council voted to sell the work and devote the proceeds to municipal projects.”

The painting was commissioned in the 1930s by Capt. Edward A. Roberts, the owner of the Grand Hotel at the time. Roberts hired McCrady who was already famous as a Southern artist.

In 1937, Time Magazine described McCrady as “a star risen from the bayous who will do for painting in the South what Faulkner is doing for literature.”

Despite the artist’s national reputation, Roberts did not hesitate to have McCrady revise his painting, according to a 1947 Press-Register story. When McCrady asked the reason, he was told to do a version in which the Confederates were winning.

The painting shows the Union fleet entering Mobile Bay on Aug. 5, 1864, at the moment that the Union ironclad Tecumseh strikes an underwater mine and begins to sink. Also shown are the two lines of Union warships steaming past Fort Morgan and the four ships of the Confederate squadron moving to intercept them.

A total of 18 Union and Confederate ships, along with Southern shore batteries, took part in the battle, which the Confederates lost.

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Information from: Press-Register, http://www.al.com/mobileregister

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-06-28-10 1311EDT

 

Detroit Children's Museum, 2008 photo by Andrew Jameson at en.wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Detroit Children’s Museum reopening with facelift

Detroit Children's Museum, 2008 photo by Andrew Jameson at en.wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Detroit Children’s Museum, 2008 photo by Andrew Jameson at en.wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

DETROIT (AP) – The Detroit Children’s Museum, which was shuttered last year amid cost-cutting by the city’s school district, has reopened with revamped exhibits, a new preschool area and more of its thousands of artifacts on display.

Hands-on components are now incorporated into all exhibits, museum director Julie Johnson said. Newly displayed items include the skull of an extinct mammal Andrewsarchus, masks and Civil War artifacts.

The museum previously was run by the cash-strapped Detroit Public Schools, which closed it last August. It’s now being operated by the Detroit Science Center under a 10-year agreement that is expected to save the state’s largest district $11.9 million. The museum reopened June 26.

“We didn’t lose this gem,” Johnson said. “It’s been here since 1917. This is a very important part of Detroit.”

The district still owns the museum, which has more than 100,000 artifacts. New acquisitions will belong to the Science Center, which has brought in some if its displays such as a towering model Tyrannosaurus rex.

“The Detroit Children’s Museum was not a core part of our operations,” Robert Bobb, the district’s state-appointed emergency financial manager, said in statement. “The museum needed to be given the stability of not being in the annual school budget cycle.”

The 93-year-old museum houses dinosaur bones, dioramas, costumes and dolls from around the world. It also has an extensive collection of rocks, fossils and crystals, some of which are being presented in new displays.

The new preschool area will include a puppet theater and live turtles. And some of the museum’s mainstays remain, including a stuffed Bengal tiger named Champ in an expanded animal exhibit and the horse sculpture “Silverbolt” outside.

In the main exhibit hall, more than 500 items are on display – about twice as many as a year ago, Johnson said. In one display, a large doll house that sits behind glass is paired with another where children can play with dolls.

The museum mostly had been used for field trips, Johnson said. Those will continue, with programs available for schools, daycare groups and community centers, but the Science Center also plans to promote the museum for family visits.

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If You Go…

DETROIT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: 6134 Second Ave., Detroit; http://www.detroitsciencecenter.org/DCM.html or 313-873-8100. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sundays. Adults, $4; children, $2. Admission includes one planetarium show; additional shows are $1 per person.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-06-28-10 1111EDT

 

Sayed Haider Raza (Indian, b. 1922-), La Nuit, acrylic on canvas, 1967, signed, titled and dated; 25 3/4 inches by 21 1/4 inches. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $51,850. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rago.

Syed Raza painting at Rago’s sells online for $51,850

Sayed Haider Raza (Indian, b. 1922-), La Nuit, acrylic on canvas, 1967, signed, titled and dated; 25 3/4 inches by 21 1/4 inches. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $51,850. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rago.

Sayed Haider Raza (Indian, b. 1922-), La Nuit, acrylic on canvas, 1967, signed, titled and dated; 25 3/4 inches by 21 1/4 inches. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $51,850. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rago.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – The June 19, 2010 Estate Auction at the Rago Arts and Auction Center brought in $442,464; a triumph for an end of auction season sale. The session was coupled with the 950+ lot June 18 Discovery Auction. Internet live bidding was provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The most exciting lot of the day was an acrylic on canvas painting titled La Nuit by Syed Haider Raza, which sold to an online bidder through LiveAuctioneers for $51,850, surpassing the modest estimate of $2,500-$3,500.

Raza is a well-known Indian artist who lived and worked in France for much of his life.  His works are mostly abstracts done in oil or acrylic and have fetched as much as $3.4 million at auction.

Another highlight in the sale was a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, which reached $6,710. The official American League ball (stamped “William Harridge”) was inscribed To Billy from Babe Ruth. “Billy” was the nephew of Armond Van Pelt, the editor of Sporting News, Armond Van Pelt, who asked Babe Ruth sign this baseball during a radio interview in the 1930s.

“Auction result were better than adequate for an end of auction season grouping of more than 1,300 lots over two days,” said Tom Martin, the Rago Estates specialist. “Consecutively strong results were achieved for the rare and unusual, and there were a few bargains for the savvy buyer who was paying attention during the course of two sessions – perfect match for buyer and seller.”

Sale statistics:

  • Sale total inclusive of 22% buyer’s premium: $442,464
  • Number of lots: 450
  • Percentage sold: 87%
  • Bidders in house: 125
  • Bidders on phone: 114
  • Bidders online: 475
  • Internet bidders by continent: North America: 84.4%; Europe: 8.4%; Asia: 5.4%; Australia: 1%; Other: 0.8%.
  • Rago will hold its next Discovery Auction on Sept. 10, 2010 and Great Estates/Jewelry on Dec. 4/5, 2010. Consignments are now being accepted for these (and all other) auctions. To contact Rago’s, call 609-397-9374 or e-mail info@ragoarts.com.

    Click here to view the fully illustrated catalogs for Rago’s June 18 and 19 auctions, complete with prices realized.

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    Among the many custom-made homes is this manufactured home made by Bliss around the turn of the 20th century. Image courtesy of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    Tucson museum has large collection of tiny collectibles

    Among the many custom-made homes is this manufactured home made by Bliss around the turn of the 20th century. Image courtesy of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    Among the many custom-made homes is this manufactured home made by Bliss around the turn of the 20th century. Image courtesy of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – The towering front door dwarfs visitors, making them feel as if they’re smaller versions of themselves. It seems like the proper beginning for a tour through Tucson’s Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    The self-guided tour starts in a magnificent rotunda where visitors can read about the museum’s founder, Pat Arnell, who received her first set of miniatures in the 1930s.

    The miniatures enthusiast didn’t seriously start collecting them until 1979 and since has accumulated one of the finest collections in the country, making her well-known in the miniature community, which includes local, national and international organizations.

    Arnell’s museum is said to be the first built in the United States specifically to showcase miniatures.

    The Mini-Time Machine is separated into three galleries – Exploring the World, History Gallery and the Enchanted Realm. Each has a different theme.

    “People should plan on spending a couple of hours here,” said Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, the museum’s associate director and director of education.

    A grand tree beckons you to the Enchanted Realm gallery. It’s the only one where sounds transport museum guests to far off places where fairies, wizards, pocket dragons, witches, frog princes, mermaids and unicorns reside.

    The castle’s every nook and cranny tells a different story. Arnell commissioned the castle from a couple in 1998 and more than 40 other artisans contributed to the work.

    The Yellow Rose of Texas house is in the Exploring the World gallery. The mansion is the work of Brooke Tucker, a popular artist in the miniature world and the daughter of the late actor Forrest Tucker.

    Another highlight in the Exploring the World gallery is Chateau Meno, an elaborate 14-room palace in the Rococo style of French architecture purchased by Arnell in 2006. It had been owned by a Georgia woman who constructed the chateau in her basement over 30 years.

    Arnell obtained the collection’s oldest room box at an auction in January and fittingly, it’s found in the History Gallery. The 1742 Nuremberg Kitchen was produced in great detail by artisans in Germany.

    “It’s amazing something like this has lasted so long,” Arnell said. “It has all the original furnishings.”

    Another kitchen in the gallery, called the Nuremberg Turn-of-the-Century Kitchen, was manufactured by a German toy company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The kitchen is operational and features a working meat grinder, which is better suited for oatmeal than meat, and an oven that can heat up mixtures with candles.

    Arnell and her husband, Walter, opened the Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures last Sept. 1 to showcase her vast collection of antique and contemporary miniatures.

    More than 26,000 people have walked through its three galleries since the approximately 16,000-square-foot museum opened.

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    Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

    Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    AP-WS-06-27-10 1441EDT


    ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


    The museum collection includes approximately 275 houses and room boxes. Image courtesy of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    The museum collection includes approximately 275 houses and room boxes. Image courtesy of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

    Ringo Starr accepting the gold snare drum in 1964 from William F. Ludwig, Jr., president of Ludwig Drum Company (second from left), as his daughter Brooke, Ludwig's director of marketing R. L. Schory (far right), and the other Beatles (John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney) look on. Photo: Ludwig Industries.

    Ringo Starr’s gold drum on view at the Met, starting July 7

    Ringo Starr accepting the gold snare drum in 1964 from William F. Ludwig, Jr., president of Ludwig Drum Company (second from left), as his daughter Brooke, Ludwig's director of marketing R. L. Schory (far right), and the other Beatles (John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney) look on. Photo: Ludwig Industries.

    Ringo Starr accepting the gold snare drum in 1964 from William F. Ludwig, Jr., president of Ludwig Drum Company (second from left), as his daughter Brooke, Ludwig’s director of marketing R. L. Schory (far right), and the other Beatles (John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney) look on. Photo: Ludwig Industries.

    NEW YORK – On Wednesday, July 7, Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will inaugurate a special display of his gold-plated snare drum that will remain on view to the public through December 2010 in the Museum’s second-floor Musical Instruments Galleries. On loan from Ringo Starr, it was originally presented to him by the Ludwig Drum Company during The Beatles’ 1964 visit to Chicago when the legendary rock group, in which Starr was the drummer, was on its first tour of the United States.

    “This special presentation drum—made for the most influential drummer of a generation and representing the highest-end production of the most important drum manufacturer of the 20th century—holds iconic stature,” stated Jayson Kerr Dobney, Associate Curator in the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Musical Instruments. “We are so pleased to be able to display in our galleries this spectacular loan from Ringo himself, who has owned it since it was first presented to him in September 1964, for thousands of visitors to see during this landmark birthday year.”

    Following the appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964, on which Ringo Starr appeared playing a Ludwig oyster black pearl drum set with the name “Ludwig” prominently displayed, the manufacturer experienced an enormous surge in sales and had to schedule round-the-clock production to accommodate orders. That September, The Beatles performed their first concert in Chicago, home to the Ludwig Drum Company. To thank Ringo for using their instruments, company president William F. Ludwig, Jr., presented him with the specially made, one-of-a-kind gold snare drum (“Super-Sensitive” model) before the concert. It bears a plaque reading: “Ringo Starr, The Beatles.” At the presentation, Mr. Ludwig said, “I have never known a drummer more widely acclaimed and publicized than you, Ringo Starr. Your millions of fans have honored you and the other members of The Beatles by their overwhelming acceptance of your recordings and concert appearances. On behalf of the employees and management of the Ludwig Drum Company, I would like to thank you for choosing our instruments and for the major role you are playing in the music world today.”

    The snare drum, which measures 14 inches in diameter and 5-1/2 inches high, will be on view in a special display within the Metropolitan Museum’s newly renovated Musical Instruments Galleries, which house its renowned collection of instruments from six continents and the Pacific Islands, dating from about 300 B.C. to the present. Unsurpassed in its comprehensive scope, the collection illustrates the development of musical instruments from all cultures and eras.

    Also in celebration of Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday in July, public television stations throughout the United States will broadcast Live from the Artists Den: Ringo Starr with Ben Harper and Relentless7. This one-hour second-season premiere of the popular contemporary music series features Mr. Starr, folk-funk star Ben Harper and Relentless7, and singer Joan Osborne in an intimate concert on the stage of the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. Ringo Starr and Ben Harper are also interviewed in the Museum’s Musical Instruments Galleries. The initial New York-area broadcast of Live from the Artists Den will take place Friday, July 9, at 9:30 p.m. on WNET/Channel 13, and Saturday, July 10, at 10 p.m. on WLIW/Channel 21; check local listings and www.TheArtistsDen.com for dates and times in other areas.

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    Dr. Roberto Tejada, newly appointed Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. Image courtesy of Meadows School of the Arts.

    Roberto Tejada to chair of SMU’s new art history Ph.D. program

    Dr. Roberto Tejada, newly appointed Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. Image courtesy of Meadows School of the Arts.

    Dr. Roberto Tejada, newly appointed Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. Image courtesy of Meadows School of the Arts.

    DALLAS – The Department of Art History at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has announced the appointment of Dr. Roberto Tejada as the new Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History, effective Aug. 1. The new endowed senior position was made possible by a generous anonymous gift of $2 million, intended to help launch a new Ph.D. program in art history at SMU in the fall of 2011.

    “Although our donor wishes to remain anonymous, we express our gratitude for this generous support of a major goal of the Second Century Campaign – strengthening our academic programs and increasing the number of endowed academic positions,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The appointment of Dr. Tejada and this innovative new doctoral program in art history leverage the unique resources of the Meadows Museum and the cultural richness of our region.”

    A well-known specialist in modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino/U.S. visual culture, Dr. Tejada is also a highly distinguished teacher, art critic, poet, curator and editor. Ramón A. Gutierrez, Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Chicago, said that Tejada is regarded as “one of a very small handful of top Latino art historians/critics and as one of Latin America’s most important thinkers in the field.”

    “We are thrilled to have Professor Tejada as our new endowed chair,” said Dr. José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. “He has formidable scholarly, curatorial and editorial credentials that will transform SMU’s already excellent art history program into one of national and international prominence, particularly in the arena of Latin American and Iberian studies. Building on the excellence of our existing faculty’s expertise in Colonial Latin America, Pre-Columbian art, and medieval Spain, and also on the strengths of the Meadows Museum and its renowned collection of Spanish art, Dr. Tejada will be a magnet for Ph.D. students around the world.”

    The international search for the new chair was led by SMU University Distinguished Professor in Art History Greg Warden. The search committee included numerous prominent scholars, among them W.J.T. Mitchell of the University of Chicago and Annabel J. Wharton of Duke University.

    Tejada comes to SMU from the University of Texas at Austin, where for the past two years he has been an associate professor in the art and art history department. Prior to that he taught for six years at the University of California-San Diego, where he was one of eight prominent scholars specifically hired by the university to promote interdisciplinary research and create synergies among departments, programs and research centers. Tejada was considered by his colleagues to be the catalytic force linking Latin American studies with literature, media history and the visual arts. Before teaching at San Diego, Tejada held a postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College.

    Tejada also has lived in Mexico City, taught at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and curated for the Museo de las Artes in Guadalajara. He spent seven years as executive editor for Artes de México, one of the continent’s leading arts journals, and was on the editorial team of Vuelta Magazine in Mexico City, published by the late Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, which focused on the arts, culture and politics of Latin America. He has published books on Mexican photography and on the artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz as well as numerous articles in such journals as Afterimage, Aperture, The Brooklyn Rail, SF Camerawork and Third Text. In 1991 he founded and is now co-editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, one of the premier bilingual journals of poetry, poetics, and visual arts from the Americas; he will continue to publish the journal at SMU.

    Tejada is also a prolific and highly accomplished poet. Adrienne Rich, one of the country’s most venerated living poets and a National Book Award winner, selected Tejada as one of only six writers to contribute an essay on her work to a special issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

    As a curator, Tejada’s exhibits have included “Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Optical Parables” at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; “Paper Traces: Latin American Prints and Drawings” at the San Diego Museum of Art; and “Luis Gispert: Loud Image” at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum, among others.

    The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Tejada earned his Ph.D. at the State University of New York-Buffalo in interdisciplinary studies (art history, English, comparative literature and media studies) and his B.A. in comparative literature at New York University.

    Dallas’s increasingly vibrant arts community, its nationally recognized museums and collections, and the attention focused on the arts resulting from the construction of the new AT&T Performing Arts Center, provided an important impetus for SMU to create a doctoral program in art history.

    The Ph.D. program will feature a curriculum with two areas of concentration: one geographic, covering Latin America, Iberia and the Americas; and the other media-based, focusing on technologies of visual communication.

    The new Ph.D. builds on the experience and success of the art history M.A. program launched in 1983; its graduates have regularly gone on to doctoral programs at such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Cornell and the Courtauld Institute at the University of London. The new Ph.D. program is expected to begin in fall 2011.