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Inside Art
By Carol Vogel Published: December 10, 1993

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Art and Libel What began as an international art scandal has landed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan as a libel case. The uproar centers around a Dec. 24, 1991, article in The Wall Street Journal with the headline "For That Price, Why Not Have the Whole Museum Repainted?" and a Dec. 30, 1991, article in the international edition of Time magazine titled "Was a Masterpiece Murdered?" The masterpiece in question is "Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III," an 8-by-18-foot painting from 1967 by the American artist Barnett Newman, consisting of a large field of red flanked by strips of blue and yellow. The painting, which belongs to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and has been valued at $3.1 million, was slashed eight times horizontally and vertically by a vandal in 1986. At the time, some Dutch art experts thought it had been damaged beyond repair. But the museum and the artist's widow, Annalee, decided to take a chance. They hired Daniel Goldreyer, a conservator based in New York City and an acknowledged expert on Newman's work, to restore the painting. The job took three years and Mr. Goldreyer was paid $270,000 plus expenses by the Stedelijk. Although the restoration was approved by the museum's director and Mrs. Newman, when the painting was rehung some Dutch experts alleged that the repair had ruined the painting.


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According to court documents, one of the experts with doubts about the restoration, Ernst van de Wetering, a professor at the University of Amsterdam, a member of the Rembrandt Research Project and among those being sued, accused Mr. Goldreyer "of having used a paint roller to cover the canvas, instead of repainting the slashes with two million red dots of paint, and called him a fraud who fooled the Stedelijk Museum in a shameless manner." Mr. Goldreyer said the only part of the restoration in which a roller was used was in the application of a protective seal on the painting. The dispute was reported in magazines and newspapers around the world. Now Mr. Goldreyer is fighting back. In January he filed suit in State Supreme Court charging, among other things, defamation of character. The suit names not only the two publications, claiming they had hurt his reputation, but also the Stedelijk Museum, which Mr. Goldreyer says "either knowingly and maliciously published falsehoods, or failed to adequately check the veracity of their information," according to court records. Last week, Justice Edward J. Greenfield denied a motion for dismissal filed by the museum and the publications. Lawyers for Time and The Wall Street Journal said they planned to appeal. "The judge's decision ignores well-established precedents in the area of fair and accurate reportage and opinion," said James F. Rittinger, the lawyer for Time. Mr. Goldreyer said this week that the judge's decision to allow a trial "makes me feel that the American judicial system is working." Cezanne in Philadelphia At a time when most museums are scaling back, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a blockbuster in its future. If all goes as planned, a major Cezanne retrospective will open at the

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but for considerably smaller sums. "We never had any thoughts or intentions about getting the Barnes's Cezannes. d'Harnoncourt said. Howard Hodgkin. too. ADS BY GOOGLE 50% Off Authentic Works 90 Picassos. Vija Celmins.000. the foundation gave a larger number of grants. the foundation's executive director.html?pag. Roy Lichtenstein.000 to $5.000 to artists." said Anne d'Harnoncourt." said Mary museum in May 1996. Among the 200 artists who have donated drawings are Georg Baselitz. In Philadelphia the show is being sponsored by Advanta. and the Tate Gallery in London. it is exhibiting drawings at the Leo Castelli Gallery. the Philadelphia Museum's director. MasterworksFineArt.nytimes. Judge. "This was a way of helping to expand our horizons. the 30-year-old institution is awarding grants up to $25. Beginning this year. Albert C. will be lent to the show. beginning tomorrow. 4 Monets.New York Times http://www. but the nearby Barnes Foundation has 66 works by the artist. The show of 110 paintings. Markus Raetz and Kiki Smith.000 were awarded to six artists. and 15 arts organizations shared grants totaling $53. it gave money only to the performing arts.. 50 Rembrandts. but in 1984 it changed its charter to include the visual arts. Elizabeth Murray. from St. because not only does her museum have large holdings of Cezannes. usually no more than $1. When the foundation began." Lenders for the show represent collectors from all over the world. where it will open in October 1995. Anselm Kiefer. a Philadelphia-based financial services Home Copyright 2011 The New York Times Company Times topics Member Center Contact Us Work for Us Site Map Index by Keyword Privacy Policy Help 2 of 2 09/07/2011 12:26 . Barnes. 420 West Broadway. 40 watercolors and 40 drawings has been organized in collaboration with the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. she added. 8 Warhols. But we hope there is a way to work out a relationship with the foundation so that visitors who come to us can also easily tour the Barnes. Under a stipulation by the foundation's founder. The Montgomery County Orphans' Court recently gave the foundation a one-time permission to break this stipulation. however. In the past. "They are from everywhere.000.. Petersburg and Sao Paulo to Japan and Switzerland. That the show's only American venue is Philadelphia is fitting. but the Philadelphia Museum didn't even raise the issue. "Plans for the show have been in the works for about two years now. 1 Dali.. allowing the works to go on an international tour to raise money to renovate the 1926 Barnes Foundation building." This year. where it will be on view beginning in Feburary 1996. home. "We wanted to learn about artists we may have not been familiar with before.Inside Art . And rather than let the directors of the foundation choose the recipients." she said. The institution is unusual because it is primarily artistsupported: it raises money through the sale of artworks donated by the artists themselves. that collection cannot leave its Merion. "The restrictions were always clear. Pa. None of the Barnes paintings. near Prince Street." Granting Bigger Grants The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts has adopted new methods for grant-giving. in SoHo. grants of $25. this year the foundation set up a nomination committee of 20 artists and other professionals in the art world to make recommendations to the board. Ms. For its 30th anniversary benefit.