Sotheby's headquarters at York Avenue and 71st Street in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Henderson.

Activist Dan Loeb seeks board shakeup at Sotheby’s

Sotheby's headquarters at York Avenue and 71st Street in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Henderson.

Sotheby’s headquarters at York Avenue and 71st Street in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Henderson.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Activist investor Dan Loeb Thursday nominated himself and two allies to the board of Sotheby’s, arguing the auction house’s current board lacks the skills and inclination to undertake needed changes.

Loeb, chief executive of hedge fund Third Point, Sotheby’s biggest shareholder with 9.5 percent of the shares, praised some of Sotheby’s recent shareholder-friendly actions, but said the board must go further in cutting costs and repositioning Sotheby’s.

“All shareholders will benefit from having an owner’s perspective in the boardroom,” Loeb said in a securities filing.

“The entrenched directors lack the fresh perspective necessary to overhaul the company’s challenged operation structure and cure its cultural malaise.”

Sotheby’s hit back, saying it was “disappointed” at Loeb’s proxy campaign which followed a far tougher Loeb letter criticizing Sotheby’s leadership in October 2013.

The company disclosed that it offered to appoint Loeb to its board and held “extensive” discussions with Third Point in recent months.

“Sotheby’s believes that its board is best-positioned to support the company’s continued growth and success,” the company said. Current directors “are active and engaged, with a diversity of professional backgrounds.”

Sotheby’s nominating and corporate governance committees will consider the three Third Point nominees in “due course” ahead of its 2014 annual meeting, which has yet to be scheduled, Sotheby’s said.

Loeb in October released a blistering letter calling for the ouster of chief executive William Ruprecht due to wasteful spending and poor leadership.

Loeb’s latest missive, which did not mention Ruprecht, praised Sotheby’s for making “some improvements” since October.

In January, Sotheby’s announced $450 million in shareholder payouts and a reorganziation in which units will be held to strict benchmarks.

Ruprecht retains “full confidence of the board,” said Sotheby’s lead independent director Domenico De Sole.

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Sotheby's headquarters at York Avenue and 71st Street in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Henderson.

Sotheby’s headquarters at York Avenue and 71st Street in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Henderson.

A Sherman tank at the National World War II Museum. Image by Nolabob. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

World War II Museum advances with new developments

A Sherman tank at the National World War II Museum. Image by Nolabob. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A Sherman tank at the National World War II Museum. Image by Nolabob. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The National World War II Museum has been a near constant construction zone for more than five years. As doors opened on one new building or exhibit, pilings were being driven for another.

The Solomon Victory Theater complex in 2009 was followed by the John Kushner Restoration Pavilion in 2011 and the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Boeing Center in 2013.

What began with converting a single old building is now an operation with a $30 million operating budget, 325 employees and $300 million in assets.

“The footprint that we have is a great part of the story of what the museum has accomplished,” said Stephen Watson, the museum’s executive vice president. “We have seen tremendous growth.”

The museum is not done yet, and it is counting on the state to provide part of the financing for several planned projects.

As it prepares to welcome its 4 millionth visitor next year, the museum is gearing up for its final development act: two new exhibit halls, a high-rise parking garage and a privately developed hotel.

The museum hopes to conclude construction on the last of the projects in 2017, more than 15 years after opening its doors.

The National D-Day Museum opened June 6, 2000. Congress designated it the National World War II Museum three years later.

Using oral accounts and artifacts such as weapons, helmets, uniforms and medals, the museum explains why World War II was fought, how the war was won and what it means today.

Although it didn’t intend to be, the institution has become a collecting museum as people donate their own memorabilia.

Less than 5 percent of the museum’s total archive of 7,500 oral accounts, 200,000 images and 100,000 artifacts is on display, President and Chief Executive Officer Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller said.

Last year, nearly 400,000 people visited the museum. It expects that number to climb to 460,000 this year.

“There have obviously been many museum exhibitions about the Civil War and how photography was used as an illustrative device to record historical events. But this is the first one that focuses on how the war transformed photography as a medium as well.” said Russell Lord, curator of photography at the New Orleans Museum of Art

The museum is “responsible for telling the epic story of that war in an epic way,” Mueller said.

This year, the institution will open the first phase of Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters, a 17,000-square-foot building with exhibits documenting the global scope of the war. The second phase of that exhibit space will open in late 2015.

An education center and the final major exhibition hall, Liberation Pavilion, exploring the closing days of World War II and the conflict’s legacy, will follow in 2017.

The museum has a fundraising goal of $325 million for the projects and has raised about $201 million, Mueller said.

Before Hurricane Katrina slowed the work, the museum had planned to complete construction in 2012. Now it has given itself a 2017 deadline to complete the latest expansion, Mueller said, so that remaining World War II veterans will be able to enjoy it.

Only about 1 million of the 16 million people who fought in the war are still alive. About 12,000 of those live in Louisiana. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 555 U.S. World War II veterans die each day.

“We’re trying to get to the goal line here. We’re losing our veterans across America and across this state,” Mueller said. “It’s our goal to get this museum finished while there are still some World War II veterans alive.”

The museum is seeking access to a $15 million noncash line of credit from the state to help pay for five projects, said Bob Farnsworth, senior vice president of capital programs. The money was allocated in the last legislative session as a Priority 5 in the state’s capital outlay budget. It would have to be moved to Priority 1 to be spent.

Gov. Bobby Jindal will decide whether to authorize the move. “We’re hopeful he’ll find a way to include us,” Mueller said.

The state provided seed money that helped the museum attract private investment in its early days.

Over more than a decade, the state has invested $45 million in the privately held nonprofit museum.

Museum officials are making a case for state support because of the “importance of our mission, the great amount of positive publicity it brings to the state and the significant return on investment the state receives from the museum,” Farnsworth said.

According to the museum, it was responsible for 200,000 hotel room nights last year.

About half of the state’s $15 million would go to replace a surface parking lot with a 450-space, multistory parking garage, with retail space on the bottom level, across Magazine Street from the museum.

As its visitor count climbs, the museum also is talking with a private developer about building a $30 million, 194-room hotel adjacent to the garage. The museum, which owns the property, would participate in developing the hotel, which would be “lightly themed” around the war, Mueller said.

Mueller said a hotel is in line with the museum’s needs as it hosts a growing number of private and community events outside museum operating hours.

The City Planning Commission recently approved plans for the garage.

“We’re shovel-ready with these projects,” Mueller said. “We’d be ready to break ground on the hotel once the first car drives into the parking garage.”

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-14 2154GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A Sherman tank at the National World War II Museum. Image by Nolabob. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A Sherman tank at the National World War II Museum. Image by Nolabob. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), 'Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge‟s Palace,' oil on canvas, 27 3⁄8 x 40 1⁄8 inches (69.5 x 102 cm). Estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million. Copyright Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

Christie’s to sell Francesco Guardi masterpiece July 8

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), 'Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge‟s Palace,' oil on canvas, 27 3⁄8 x 40 1⁄8 inches (69.5 x 102 cm). Estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million. Copyright Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), ‘Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge‟s Palace,’ oil on canvas, 27 3⁄8 x 40 1⁄8 inches (69.5 x 102 cm). Estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million. Copyright Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

LONDON – Christie’s will offer the painting Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge’s Palace by Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) at its Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale on July 8.

It will be the first time in over a century the painting from the Baron Henri de Rothschild Collection will be offered (estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million).

Executed at the height of Guardi’s maturity and depicting one of the most celebrated prospects of Venice, centering on the Doge’s Palace, the caliber of this work is matched by its exceptional provenance. Originally in the collection of the Earls of Shaftesbury; it was acquired by Baron James-Edouard de Rothschild (1844-1881) and was in turn owned by his daughter Jeanne- Sophie-Henriette, Baronne Léonino (1875-1929) and then by her brother Baron Henri-James-Charles-Nathan de Rothschild (1872-1947), from whom it was inherited by the present owners.

Not seen in public since 1954 (Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, La Peinture Vénitienne), this work will go on a global tour starting with a public view at Christie’s in Paris on March 3 and 4; Moscow on April 12 and 13, New York from May 2 to 6; Hong Kong from May 22 to 26; and London July 5 to 8.

The sale of this canvas provides international private collectors and institutions with a rare opportunity to acquire a work that is considered to be a masterpiece within Guardi’s oeuvre. It is set to become one of the most valuable works by the artist sold at auction.

“We are honored to present this exquisite view by Francesco Guardi at a moment when appreciation of his art is at an all-time high,” said Georgina Wilsenach, head of Old Master & British paintings at Christie’s London.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), 'Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge‟s Palace,' oil on canvas, 27 3⁄8 x 40 1⁄8 inches (69.5 x 102 cm). Estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million. Copyright Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), ‘Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge‟s Palace,’ oil on canvas, 27 3⁄8 x 40 1⁄8 inches (69.5 x 102 cm). Estimate: £8-10 million/ $13-16.5 million / €9.5-12 million. Copyright Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

Cave painting of a bison the great hall of policromes. Image by Rameessos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Spain’s prehistoric cave art reopens to lucky few

Cave painting of a bison the great hall of policromes. Image by Rameessos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Cave painting of a bison the great hall of policromes. Image by Rameessos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

SANTILLANA DEL MAR, Spain (AFP) – With its 14,000-year-old red bison, Spain’s Altamira cave paintings reopened to a handful of visitors Thursday, giving them a glimpse of some of the world’s most spectacular prehistoric art.

Renowned for vivid paintings of beasts and animal-headed humans, the Altamira cave closed in 2002 because breath and microscopic fungi introduced by visitors threatened to ruin the prehistoric paint.

On Thursday it reopened for five lucky visitors, chosen by lot from ticket-holders at a nearby museum that houses replicas of the paintings at Santillana del Mar, in the Cantabria region.

“It is very impressive. You see all sorts of details… they seem to stare at you from out of the darkness,” said 39-year-old journalist Javier Ors after visiting.

“There is a life-size deer which looks like a female that is pregnant. That was impressive.”

Another visitor, Andrea Vicente, said she was “very moved” by the experience.

“It gives you goose bumps,” she said.

The five crept in wearing white masks and overalls and closed the door behind them as they headed underground to see the ancient masterpieces.

Experts arranged the tour as an experiment to assess the impact on the paintings from readmitting the public after 12 years of studies.

The culture ministry said scientists would monitor the temperature of the air and rocks, humidity, carbon dioxide and any risk of contamination, to see whether visits could safely continue.

The highlight of the cave is a set of paintings, at least 14,000-year-old, of red and yellow bison plus horses, deer, humans with the heads of animals and mysterious symbols.

“When you enter, it is an extraordinary feeling,” Gael de Guichen, the site’s lead conservationist, told AFP.

“A prehistoric human saw a herd of bison on the plain – some of them grazing, some sleeping, running or snorting. And he went back into the cave and painted it.”

UNESCO listed the paintings as a World Heritage Site in 1985, as “masterpieces of creative genius and as humanity’s earliest accomplished art.”

The cave, whose walls are covered with colorful paintings over more than 270 meters, was discovered in 1868 in northern Spain.

It has been dubbed the “Sistine chapel of Paleolithic art.”

Experts say the cave was inhabited approximately 35,000 to 13,000 years ago.

The techniques of the paintings and realistic animal details mark “one of the key moments of the history of art,” UNESCO says in its listing.

The caves are particularly well preserved and the style of paintings is unique to Cantabria, according to the world cultural heritage body.

During the closure, visitors have had to look at a replica of the paintings, with only scientists allowed into the cave to carry out research.

In January, the foundation which manages the cave said it could reopen but only to groups of five people a week, and for just minutes at a time.

Overall 192 visitors will be allowed in by August, when experts will reassess the impact of the visits on the paintings, the culture ministry said.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Cave painting of a bison the great hall of policromes. Image by Rameessos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Cave painting of a bison the great hall of policromes. Image by Rameessos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

'Swinger,' one of the Banksy murals in New Orleans. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

New Orleans neighbors foil attempt to steal Banksy mural

'Swinger,' one of the Banksy murals in New Orleans. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

‘Swinger,’ one of the Banksy murals in New Orleans. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Neighbors in New Orleans foiled what police say was an attempt to steal a chunk of cinderblock wall bearing a painting created by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy.

The building’s owner called police Friday evening, saying someone was attempting to cut out the painting, which Banksy had created after Hurricane Katrina, said Officer Garry Flot, a police spokesman. By the time of that call, he said, two suspects were gone and the mural, known locally as Umbrella Girl or Rain Girl, was still there. The painting and the long holes that had been cut around it are now shielded by plywood.

The mural is among more than a dozen made in 2008 in New Orleans by the elusive British artist, who is perhaps the world’s best-known street artist. Banksy’s works have sold at auction for as much as $1.1 million. He came to New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav was heading toward Louisiana. The images he left were generally related to the 2005 hurricane, Katrina. Well-known in New Orleans, they have been the subject of news articles in the past.

Many have since been painted over or destroyed. This one shows a mournful girl holding an umbrella from which rain pours onto her as she extends a cupped hand into the open air around her.

Word of activity at the site appeared Friday afternoon on Facebook, with pictures showing a wide gap above the painting. The work was going on behind a plywood screen.

Photographer Cheryl Gerber had noticed the plywood hiding the painting not far from her house earlier in the day while driving home from an assignment. She asked a man sitting at the back of a nearby rental truck what was going on.

“He said, ‘Oh, the picture is going to London for a big show,’” she recounted.

She got home and posted a photo with the message, “Bye Bye Banksy! My neighborhood’s most famous little girl is moving to London.”

Clay Lapeyrouse was alarmed when he saw a Facebook picture of the activity.

“It just didn’t add up to me. The whole scenario seemed off,” Lapeyrouse, operations manager at Louisiana Fresh Produce, said Tuesday.

It was his day off, so he went to take a look for himself.

When he asked to see a permit for work on the vacant building, the two men could not provide one. They told him the building’s owners wanted to send the painting to a museum. “They couldn’t tell me who the owner was or the name of the museum,” Lapeyrouse said.

“I left and came back and called the police and called every authority I could think of in the city,” he said.

There are differing accounts of when police were actually notified. Lapeyrouse said that the first time he called, a 911 dispatcher told him “they sent someone out there already and the gentleman told them the same story they had told me.”

Flot, meanwhile, said the only record for a call reporting an attempted theft at 1034 N. Rampart St. was from the owner about 5:15 p.m., and the first officer was sent about 7:45 p.m.

Lapeyrouse said he stayed as long as he could, but finally left to get his dogs from day care. When he returned the men had gone, but Lapeyrouse stuck around in case they came back. More neighbors showed up. Lapeyrouse said he also tore down the plywood screen.

John Guarnieri, office manager at an architectural firm and a board member of the Bywater Neighborhood Association, said eventually a former tenant of the building arrived and was able to give the name of the owner’s attorney.

Flot said that after the owner contacted police, they began an investigation. However, the identities of the suspects remain unknown.

Neighbors said a guard hired by the owner arrived Friday evening. A guard was still there Tuesday. A new plywood shield was erected, keeping the painting out of reach.

New Orleans resident Charlie Varley, who is interested in art and grew up south of London, also saw the man chopping at the wall. Varley said the man told him he was a Los Angeles “art handler” working for the building owners, who were sending it to the Tate Modern – one of four Tate museums holding Britain’s national art collection.

Tate spokeswoman Jeanette Ward told The Associated Press in an email that there “are currently no plans announced to include the work of Banksy in an exhibition.”

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-14 0211GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


'Swinger,' one of the Banksy murals in New Orleans. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

‘Swinger,’ one of the Banksy murals in New Orleans. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The 'Forever Marilyn' statue was inspired by a famous scene from 'The Seven Year Itch.' Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Universal Live.

Larger-than-life Marilyn Monroe statue to leave Calif. for NJ

The 'Forever Marilyn' statue was inspired by a famous scene from 'The Seven Year Itch.' Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Universal Live.

The ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue was inspired by a famous scene from ‘The Seven Year Itch.’ Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Universal Live.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) – A massive statue of Marilyn Monroe that has turned heads for two years in Palm Springs is headed east.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue will be transported in April from California to Hamilton, N.J., where it will be part of an exhibit honoring its designer, Seward Johnson.

A going-away party, open to the public, is planned for March 27.

The statue of the Hollywood actress arrived in the desert resort city in 2012.

The sculpture depicts Monroe trying to push down her billowing skirt in her memorable scene in the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch.

The Forever Marilyn statue, on loan from The Sculpture Foundation, was previously in Chicago.

Palm Springs officials say they hope to eventually lure Marilyn back.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-14 1604GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The 'Forever Marilyn' statue was inspired by a famous scene from 'The Seven Year Itch.' Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Universal Live.

The ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue was inspired by a famous scene from ‘The Seven Year Itch.’ Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Universal Live.

Armor of the Nuinobedō type and military equipment, late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century, iron, lacquer, gold, bronze, silver, leather, wood, horsehair, hemp, brocade, and steel. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier- Mueller Museum, Dallas.

Samurai armor collection spawns museum, touring exhibit

Armor of the Nuinobedō type and military equipment, late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century, iron, lacquer, gold, bronze, silver, leather, wood, horsehair, hemp, brocade, and steel. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier- Mueller Museum, Dallas.

Armor of the Nuinobedō type and military equipment, late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century, iron, lacquer, gold, bronze, silver, leather, wood, horsehair, hemp, brocade, and steel. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier- Mueller Museum, Dallas.

DALLAS (AP) – Gabriel Barbier-Mueller bought his first samurai armor about 20 years ago from an antiques dealer in Paris, sparking a fascination that helped him create one of the most significant private collections in the world related to the Japanese warriors.

Although the vast majority of the Texas-based businessman’s pieces come from auction houses, art dealers and collectors, he still relishes visiting small European antiques stores seeking hidden treasures and strolling flea markets, as he adds helmets, weapons and other samurai artifacts that span the centuries.

“Every year starts with: ‘I’ve got everything I need. There’s nothing on the market.’ And somehow you luck out on something, and you discover new things,” said Barbier-Mueller, a Swiss-born real estate developer who opened a samurai museum last year near downtown Dallas.

Part of the collection – now numbering in the hundreds – is on an international tour that began two years ago in Paris and opened this month at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. It will head to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art after the current exhibit ends Aug. 31.

The Kimbell display features more than 140 works including 20 suits of armor, three armors for horses and helmets and weapons from various eras of the samurai. Samurai armors are made of a variety of materials, often intertwined – from iron to wood to fur to leather.

The entire collection is among the world’s most notable private collections and is only rivaled by a few museums in the United States, said Thom Richardson, deputy master at the Royal Armouries, the United Kingdom’s National Museum of Arms and Armour in Leeds.

“Many of the pieces in the Barbier-Mueller collection are quite familiar to Japanese armor scholars in the West,” Richardson said.

The history of the samurai dates back to 792, when Japan stopped conscripting troops and landowners began assembling their own warriors, called samurai. By 1185, warlords ruled in the name of the emperor and clans used their samurai to vie for power. The samurai class was abolished after the emperor again ruled supreme in 1868.

Barbier-Mueller said after the samurai were disbanded, many artifacts were sold or melted down for steel. Since so many pieces were sold off, he can track most of his pieces to sales at European auction houses in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Barbier-Mueller said one piece he acquired was bought from a descendent of a minister who left Japan in 1920, returning to England with an entire collection of samurai armor.

The collection spans enough of the samurai history that one can see the difference in helmets as warfare progresses from bows and arrows to guns, said Jennifer Casler Price, the Kimbell’s curator of Asian and non-Western art. She said helmet designs became more elaborate through the years in order to identify fellow warriors amid the smoke from gunfire.

“They have assembled this really exceptional collection,” she said. “I think people will be rather dazzled.”

Barbier-Mueller came to Dallas in 1979 and founded his company, Harwood International, in 1988. His projects around the world include an area featuring offices, residences and restaurants near downtown Dallas, including the building that houses his museum.

But the 57-year-old said he still finds time to expand the historical collection he’s built along with his wife, Ann, whenever and wherever he can. A discovery just last year came when he spotted a polished copper ball in a store down a tiny Parisian street and learned it was a mirror samurai used for protection.

“It’s what you would have hung on the ceiling,” he said. “They would travel and they were hosted by people along their journey. If they lay down and looked at that ball, it’s like a 360-degree mirror, so they could have seen anybody coming to attack them.”

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If You Go…

SAMURAI: ARMOR FROM THE ANN AND GABRIEL BARBIER-MUELLER COLLECTION: Exhibit at Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas, https://www.kimbellart.org or 817-332-8451. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday noon-8 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m.; closed Monday. Adults, $14; seniors and students, $12; Children 6-11, $10; under 6 free. Admission is half-price on Tuesday and after 5 p.m. on Friday.

ANN AND GABRIEL BARBIER-MUELLER MUSEUM: THE SAMURAI COLLECTION: 2501 N. Harwood St., Dallas, Texas, on second floor of historic St. Ann’s School building, above Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar, http://www.samuraicollection.org or 214-965-1032. Tuesday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Monday. Admission is free.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-14 0315GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Armor of the Nuinobedō type and military equipment, late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century, iron, lacquer, gold, bronze, silver, leather, wood, horsehair, hemp, brocade, and steel. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier- Mueller Museum, Dallas.

Armor of the Nuinobedō type and military equipment, late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century, iron, lacquer, gold, bronze, silver, leather, wood, horsehair, hemp, brocade, and steel. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier- Mueller Museum, Dallas.

Armor of the Nimaitachidō type (detail), attributed to MyōchinYoshimichi (helmet bowl); Myōchin Munenori (armor), Muromachi period, c. 1400 (helmet bowl); mid-Edo period, 18th century (armor), iron, shakudō, lacing, silver, wood, gold, brocade, fur, bronze, brass, and leather. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas

Armor of the Nimaitachidō type (detail), attributed to MyōchinYoshimichi (helmet bowl); Myōchin Munenori (armor), Muromachi period, c. 1400 (helmet bowl); mid-Edo period, 18th century (armor), iron, shakudō, lacing, silver, wood, gold, brocade, fur, bronze, brass, and leather. Photograph by Brad Flowers. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas

'Bathers with a Turtle,' Henri Matisse, 1907-08, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 87 in. (181.6 x 221 cm). St. Louis Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

How Joseph Pulitzer Jr. ‘saved’ a Matisse masterpiece

'Bathers with a Turtle,' Henri Matisse, 1907-08, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 87 in. (181.6 x 221 cm). St. Louis Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

‘Bathers with a Turtle,’ Henri Matisse, 1907-08, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 87 in. (181.6 x 221 cm). St. Louis Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – In a first-floor gallery at the St. Louis Art Museum hangs a life-size portrait of three bathing women and a small red turtle. The painting, by Henri Matisse, changed the course of art, and is considered one of the most influential 20th-century paintings in the United States.

But it should not be here. It should be in a museum deep in German coal country, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

And it might be, were it not for World War II, the Nazi theft of millions of the most important artworks in Europe, and a St. Louis newspaper tycoon.

In the summer of 1939, Joseph Pulitzer Jr. traveled to Switzerland for a spectacular auction assembled by the Third Reich to raise money for the war.

Pulitzer flew home owning a Matisse.

With Hollywood’s help, moviegoers now know the harrowing tales of the Monuments Men, the group of roughly 350 men and women from 13 countries who recovered nearly 5 million pieces of art and artifacts stolen by the Nazis during World War II – including work by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso.

But the story isn’t one that ends in Europe. Museums across the United States own a small piece of that history even now, more than 70 years later. After the war, artwork ejected from Germany made its way to heirs, galleries and private collectors across the ocean.

The St. Louis Art Museum has at least nine such works.

“There was a whole system, a whole set of measures, (the Nazis) put in place to turn art into either art they liked, or into cash,” said James van Dyke, an art history professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who specializes in German work. “And many American museums and private collectors benefited from this move.”

The Nazis stole millions of paintings and artifacts. They seized private collections from Jewish families before sending the paintings to secret mines for safekeeping, and the Jews to concentration camps.

They pulled iconic works – Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece and Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges, for example – from churches, castles and museums across France, Belgium, Italy and Austria.

And they removed millions of pieces from their own museums.

Their goal was twofold. Adolf Hitler, a failed art student himself, envisioned a gigantic museum devoted to Nazi ideals, full of famous Renaissance, Romantic and realist pieces plucked from his spoils.

The modern art he confiscated would be sold or destroyed.

The pieces recovered by the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Western Allied military effort – the Monuments Men – were the lucky ones. The soldiers returned many to their home countries, if not their actual homes.

Two on display in St. Louis for example, Hans Mielich’s 500-year-old Portrait of a Gentleman and Portrait of a Lady, were confiscated from a Jewish couple in Vienna, Austria, recovered from the Altaussee salt mines, and returned to the family, according to museum files. Years later, an heir gave the paintings to the St. Louis Art Museum.

But the art confiscated from German museums and sold on the international market is a different matter, art experts say.

In 1937, the Nazis put on an exhibition with hopes of ridiculing the modernists they called “degenerate” and raising interest in the eventual sale of the paintings.

Some of those pieces were sent to four German art dealers, handpicked by the Reich to sell on the international market. An additional 125 pieces were sent to Galerie Fischer in Lucerne, Switzerland, for a special auction.

The St. Louis Art Museum has at least six pieces that Nazis confiscated from their own museums as degenerate.

Morton D. May, heir to the May Department Stores fortune, purchased two by Ernst Kirchner and one by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff from dealers in the 1950s and left them to the museum when he died.

Two others – including Max Beckmann’s Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery – came to the museum from a New York art dealer, Curt Valentin, who specialized in Nazi confiscations.

But the most interesting, and valuable, traveled to St. Louis via Switzerland.

Germany’s Museum Folkwang was founded in 1902 by a visionary art collector, Karl Ernst Osthaus, as the first contemporary art museum. He nearly single-handedly stuffed it with classical and modern art.

In 1937, the Nazis removed 1,400 pieces from the Folkwang, including seven Matisses. “Only a few dozen have found their way back,” museum director Tobia Bezzola said Friday. Germans are increasingly interested in seeing artwork returned to their museums, he said.

But only works now owned by other Germans – not the Matisse that, in 1939, caught a young Joseph Pulitzer’s eye.

Pulitzer, a recent Harvard grad, was honeymooning in Europe, well before his time running the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He had already begun collecting art – Pulitzer famously hung an Amedeo Modigliani in his dorm room – and some of his art dealers had alerted him to the Nazi auction in Lucerne.

Pulitzer took his new wife to the auction. They bought the Matisse, Bathers with a Turtle, for $2,400, less than one-ten-thousandth what it is now worth.

Pulitzer loved the piece. But he seemed to know the impact of his actions. Many thought any sale was too much of an aid to the Nazi effort.

To Pulitzer, it was an attempt to save the art from a certain fate.

He gave it to the St. Louis Art Museum in 1964.

“It’s one of the great Matisses,” said Simon Kelly, the St. Louis Art Museum’s curator of modern art. “It’s kind of our Mona Lisa.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-14 0604GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


'Bathers with a Turtle,' Henri Matisse, 1907-08, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 87 in. (181.6 x 221 cm). St. Louis Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

‘Bathers with a Turtle,’ Henri Matisse, 1907-08, oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 87 in. (181.6 x 221 cm). St. Louis Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the Korean paintings found in the James Michener collection. Image courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.

16th-century Korean paintings found in Honolulu museum

One of the Korean paintings found in the James Michener collection. Image courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.

One of the Korean paintings found in the James Michener collection. Image courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.

HONOLULU (AP) – The Honolulu Museum of Art has discovered two paintings from late 16th-century Korea in its collection, including one that’s been called an “earth-shattering” find.

“This is like discovering a lost Vermeer,” said Shawn Eichman, curator of Asian art at the museum, referring to the Dutch master, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The paintings are from the estate of Richard Lane, an art collector and dealer. Lane, who lived in Japan for about 50 years, helped catalog the museum’s James Michener collection of Japanese prints. He left his personal library to the museum when he died in 2002.

When museum officials went to Japan to claim the materials, they came across his separate personal collection. It contained some 20,000 items, including more than 3,000 paintings, books made from woodblocks, and other artifacts. The museum acquired the entire collection for about $26,000 in 2003, but without a catalog, it was unclear what it contained.

Asian art experts have been studying the pieces over the past decade.

Many paintings in the collection were initially identified as “Chinese, question mark; Japanese, question mark; Korean, question mark.”

Korean paintings from the late 16th century are difficult to identify in part because so few survived Japanese invasions, which started in 1592 and lasted until 1596.

In January, a group of Korean experts – including the world’s leading expert on Korean art, Chung Woo-Thak of Dongguk University – came to Hawaii after initially studying some photos the museum had sent.

One of the last paintings they looked at depicted scholars meeting in a small pavilion, boats on a calm lake and rocky, pillar-like mountains. A calligraphy inscription dated the work to 1586. The painting immediately piqued their interest.

The painting is important because it is dated just a few years before the Japanese invasions and because it depicts a meeting of scholars, a particular genre of painting, Eichman said. The inscription was by a famous Korean poet, who is believed to be one of the participants in the meeting.

The other painting was put on display at the museum about three weeks ago. It depicts the Chinese philosopher and cosmologist Zhou Dunyi, a standard subject of the day, in contemplation beside a small pool with lily pads. It’s not as badly deteriorated as the painting of the scholars and was deemed suitable for exhibition.

Museum officials expect to receive grant money to send the painting of the scholars to South Korea for conservation. Eichman expects it will have a grand unveiling there before it’s returned to Hawaii.

___

Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-25-14 2352GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


One of the Korean paintings found in the James Michener collection. Image courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.

One of the Korean paintings found in the James Michener collection. Image courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.

Steiff golden mohair bear with shoebutton eyes, leather muzzle, 24in tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Finest toys, dolls, trains chosen for Bertoia auction March 28-29

Steiff golden mohair bear with shoebutton eyes, leather muzzle, 24in tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Steiff golden mohair bear with shoebutton eyes, leather muzzle, 24in tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – Wherever early character toys gather, collectors soon follow. The next destination for both is Bertoia Auctions’ Friday/Saturday March 28-29 auction of toys, dolls, and holiday antiques. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

The 1,400-lot sale will open with 125 top-notch comic character toys, including many classics such as the Mickey and Minnie Hurdy Gurdy, all three variations of the Marx Merry Makers Band (standard, with violinist and with marquee), and a great selection of Popeye toys. The many clockwork depictions of the muscle-bound sailor to be auctioned – some of them boxed – include Popeye boxing, walking, flying a plane, playing basketball and working with a boxer’s punching bag. Also included are Disney’s Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio, and Warner Brothers’ Porky Pig.

Another 300 lots of tin toys include examples of the Butter and Egg Man, Red the Ice Man, and many walking toys, such as Tom Twist and Hey Hey Chicken Snatcher. A fine representation of Marx toys features all variations of the Big Parade, a series of war cars, and many other favorites by the company that was once the world’s most prolific toy maker. Japanese tin racecars lining up for their turn at the spotlight will include a Champion Racer, Jet Racer and Super Racer, all from the same consignor.

European toys include Lehmann’s ZigZag, Man-Da-Rin, Nanu and Vineta monorail; and several Martins, including a Piano Player and a boxed delivery boy with cart known as Le Petit Livreur. An array of approximately 50 penny toys offers a wide range of amusing and automotive-related subjects, some produced by the German firms Fischer and Meier.

A second helping of 125 mixed comic character toys will be up next. Following closely behind will be a European car and toy rally led by a bright and beautiful medium-size Gordon Bennett racer from the late Dr. Malcolm Kates’ collection.

The diverse offering of European windups includes scarce Gunthermann minstrels, clowns in various poses, musicians, dancers, and a scull with four oarsmen. Also included are a few European carousels and Ferris wheels, and a grouping of key-wind and hand-crank automata, some of them musical and some by Bing.

Teddy bears will join the lineup. Steiff entries include a large muzzled example with Vineland, New Jersey upbringing; and a scarce rod bear. Others in varies sizes will pose for approval during the two-day event.

Automata and dolls go hand in hand, and Bertoia’s will offer close to 150 desirable European dolls in the Friday session, ranging from diminutive 1-inch articulated bisque dolls to French and German beauties exceeding 20 inches in height. Categories include German bisque-heads, Kammer & Reinhardt character babies, Gebruder Heubach character dolls, Simon & Halbig dolls and others. Among the googly doll highlights is an appealing Schwab design with rare flirty eyes. Other noteworthy lots include a large Kestner doll, a Jules Steiner bebe and an earliest-period Jumeau portrait doll.

The Saturday session starts with more than 300 cast-iron automotive toys from the collection of the late Judge Glenn McDonald of Louisville, Kentucky, and other private collections. Autos, trucks, buses and taxis will be joined by a very nice selection of early horse-drawn transportation toys.

An interesting grouping of Schoenhuts reveals several scarce examples. Top pieces include a boxed clown, Happy Hooligan, Boob McNutt, and an attractive Fairmount Farms Milk delivery wagon. Many jewel-eyed and caged animals are in the mix, with two standouts being a miniature pig and poodle.

Next up will be early games, mostly McLoughlin productions including the Watermelon Patch Game and Game of Louisa. Right alongside them will be several McLoughlin picture puzzles with colorful, richly illustrated box lids.

The last 400 lots of the auction will be well worth waiting for, as they consist of Erzebirge, skittles and exceptional Christmas and holiday lots, many from the revered collection of the late Tom Fox. Dresdens, Father Christmas display figures and Santas in sleighs – one of loofah; the other of wicker – are expected to keep bidding paddles busy.

“Collectors will love the Christmas selection. When we sold part one of the Tom Fox collection in November, we made sure we set aside some exceptional pieces to sell in the March sale, as well,” said Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia. “The cataloging was very time intensive. We called on the expertise of Betty Bell, a specialist in Dresdens and holiday antiques, to make sure we didn’t miss anything in our descriptions.”

Among the 10 animal-head candy containers in the Fox collection are an iridescent parrot, a Bacchus on a wine cask grasping a cluster of grapes, and three examples that double as Christmas crackers: a Victorian lady’s boot, a horse’s head and boar’s head that Bell said she had never seen before.

An array of pre-World War I Dresdens crosses many categories of interest. There are harlequins, a jaunty sailor, a turkey vulture on a branch, a helmeted knight’s head with a movable visor, and an iridescent monkey riding a horse. Perhaps most highly prized is a scale-model Bugatti with driver. An equestrian-theme sub-collection with pieces from both the Fox collection and other consignors consists of numerous jumpers, an unusual lady riding sidesaddle, a riding boot, hoof and small horse’s head.

Bertoia’s March 28-29, 2014 Toys & Holiday Auction will begin at 10 a.m. on both days. Preview 9 a.m.-5 p.m. any weekday during the week preceding the auction, and one hour prior to each of the two sessions.

To contact Bertoia Auctions call 856-692-1881 or email toys@bertoiaauctions.com.

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.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Steiff golden mohair bear with shoebutton eyes, leather muzzle, 24in tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Steiff golden mohair bear with shoebutton eyes, leather muzzle, 24in tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Mickey Mouse ‘Hurdy Gurdy,’ German, lithographed tin, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Mickey Mouse ‘Hurdy Gurdy,’ German, lithographed tin, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Gunthermann ‘Gordon Bennet’ racer, German, 8¾in version, est. $6,000-$8,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Gunthermann ‘Gordon Bennet’ racer, German, 8¾in version, est. $6,000-$8,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Maypole toy with three girl figures with bisque heads and composition bodies, German, crank action, circa 1900, est. $2,000-$2,750. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Maypole toy with three girl figures with bisque heads and composition bodies, German, crank action, circa 1900, est. $2,000-$2,750. Bertoia Auctions image.

Earliest-period Portrait Jumeau doll with bisque head incised ‘1,’ 16½ in tall, est. $3,000-$4,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Earliest-period Portrait Jumeau doll with bisque head incised ‘1,’ 16½ in tall, est. $3,000-$4,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Hubley cast-iron sleigh with two Brownie figures, 16in long, est. $2,500-$3,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Hubley cast-iron sleigh with two Brownie figures, 16in long, est. $2,500-$3,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Kenton cast-iron 1926 coupe with painted driver, 10in long, est. $2,000-$3,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Kenton cast-iron 1926 coupe with painted driver, 10in long, est. $2,000-$3,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Hand-painted Noah’s Ark with extensive array of carved figures representing people and pairs of animals, 37in long, est. $12,000-$14,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Hand-painted Noah’s Ark with extensive array of carved figures representing people and pairs of animals, 37in long, est. $12,000-$14,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Clockwork reindeer nodder with Santa on sleigh, 30in overall, est. $6,000-$8,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Clockwork reindeer nodder with Santa on sleigh, 30in overall, est. $6,000-$8,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Dresden Christmas ornament depicting glass-eyed turkey vulture on branch. Provenance: Tom Fox estate collection. Est. $2,200-$2,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

 

Dresden Christmas ornament depicting glass-eyed turkey vulture on branch. Provenance: Tom Fox estate collection. Est. $2,200-$2,500. Bertoia Auctions image.