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American Folk Art Museum Settlement

American Folk Art Museum Settlement

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Details of settlement agreement, subject to court approval, between AFAM & Ralph Esmerian bankruptcy estates.
Details of settlement agreement, subject to court approval, between AFAM & Ralph Esmerian bankruptcy estates.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Lee Rosenbaum, CultureGrrl on Dec 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/27/2012

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Contact: Barbara Livenstein212-265-1040, ext. 113blivenstein@folkartmuseum.org
ESMERIAN BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE FILES MOTION TO APPROVE ESMERIAN BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE FILES MOTION TO APPROVE ESMERIAN BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE FILES MOTION TO APPROVE ESMERIAN BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE FILES MOTION TO APPROVE  SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT 
Agreement Would Give American Folk Art Museum 53 Works
 
of Art Considered Important to Museum’s Mission
The trustee in the bankruptcy cases of Ralph Esmerian and R. Esmerian Inc. todayfiled a motion asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York toapprove a settlement agreement between the Esmerian bankruptcy estates and theAmerican Folk Art Museum to resolve the matter of some 263 works of art previouslypromised to the Museum by Mr. Esmerian. The agreement, which is subject to courtapproval, provides that the Museum will have free and clear title to 53 outstanding worksof art which will enhance its collection and support its educational mission. The works tobe retained have been specifically identified by the Museum for their distinctivecontribution to its collection and include superb examples of traditional folk art in suchmedia as portraits, needleworks, fraktur, sculpture, pottery, and scrimshaw, among otherforms. Esmerian’s collection was widely considered one of the finest in the field.Commented Laura Parsons, Chairman of the Board of the Museum: “This is a happy andsad day for the American Folk Art Museum. If the Court approves the agreement, theMuseum will have acquired 53 folk art masterpieces, on top of a large number of artworks already gifted. We know, however, that we are going to lose works of art wecherish, and that is a loss for the Museum and the public as well. We have concluded thatthis resolution is essential to put the uncertainty of the Esmerian bankruptcy processbehind us. We are committed to continue our success and progress in renewing,rebuilding, and re-energizing the Museum, focusing on the important role we play.”
 
 The Museum is the only not-for-profit, educational institution named in the courtagreement filed today. The remainder of the promised gift to the Museum—approximately 210 works of art—will most likely be sold at auction to settle otherbankruptcy estate claims.Despite the challenges the Museum faced in 2011, it has preserved its collection intactand undertaken a dynamic exhibition schedule; it has expanded its Board of Trustees andhired Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice as its new Executive Director. The Museum is operatingwith a balanced budget, primarily due to the largesse of one of its most loyal anddedicated trustees, Joyce Cowin, and other trustees and friends who made pledges to helpensure the Museum’s future. The Museum’s coffers were further bolstered by a generousbequest to support its exhibitions from the late David Davies, a trustee of the Museum,and a gift from his partner Jack Weeden.Ms. Parsons continued: “I am especially grateful for Monty Blanchard’s energetic work to move the Museum closer to resolution of the Esmerian matter. I am also grateful toAnne Radice for joining the Museum at this critical moment in our history, and for herleadership, dynamism, and expertise in corporate governance.”The works were promised by Mr. Esmerian, a chairman of the Museum’s Board, whofiled for bankruptcy in 2010 before the promised gifts were available for accession.During the course of Mr. Esmerian’s association with the Museum, he had previouslydonated 65 works and provided significant financial support including over $1.9 millionto its building campaign.As part of the settlement, the trustee is releasing any claim thatthe bankruptcy estates may have had to recover any of the 65 works or the fundspreviously donated by Mr. Esmerian.The Museum has continued to make many of the promised works of art available to thepublic through recent exhibitions including
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