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The labyrinthine case of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) versus New York gallery Knoedler & Co. involving the Henri Matisse Odalisque (1928) that turned out to be Nazi war loot has finally come to a resolution. In an out-of-court settlement, SAM has dropped its $11-million suit against the gallery in return for one or more works from Knoedler's inventory. The gallery has also agreed to reimburse the museum for legal fees and other related costs, including a $143,000 fine imposed by the judge presiding over the case for SAM's delays in showing proof of legal ownership. SAM has 30 days to make its selection from the gallery's holdings; the Seattle Post-Intelligencer speculated that the museum might go for an Abstract-Expressionist rather than a School of Paris work. The Matisse Odalisque, stolen by the Nazis from Paris dealer Paul Rosenberg during World War II, was sold by Knoedler in 1954 to Seattle collectors Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. The Bloedels willed the Matisse to the Seattle museum in 1991, but in 1997 the work was discovered to be plunder and returned to Rosenberg's heirs -- who sold it to casino mogul Steve Wynn for an undisclosed amount estimated to be approximately $2 million.

The trial of retired English teacher Dennis Heiner for vandalizing Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary at the Brooklyn Museum is set to begin today in Brooklyn Criminal Court, reports the New York Daily News. Heiner faces a prison sentence of one year for misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief, making graffiti and possessing a graffiti instrument after smearing white paint over half of the controversial work last December during the much-maligned "Sensation" exhibition. Heiner has entered a plea of not guilty and is reportedly considering a defense based on First Amendment protections. "If you take a look at the totality of circumstances, it was just not appropriate to prosecute him criminally, any more than it was just to prosecute the artist for what he did," Heiner's attorney told Newsday. Prosecutors have not offered a plea to reduced charges.

Fallen antiques dealer William Youngworth -- who first made headlines when he asked for $50 million to lead authorities to the missing Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum masterpieces -- has been released from prison after serving three years on minor charges (he was convicted of conspiring to steal a van) and after the Supreme Judicial Court dropped "habitual offender" charges that could have kept him behind bars for another 12 years. Youngworth maintains he still intends to collect a reward for leading authorities to 11 of 13 paintings stolen from the Gardner in what is believed to be the largest art theft in modern history (on Mar. 18, 1990, two men posing as Boston police officers conned their way into the museum subdued two watchmen and stole works by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt, Vermeer and others estimated to be worth over $200 million). Stay tuned.

A scant six months after receiving a donation of approximately 1,800 Chinese and Mid-Eastern antiquities worth some $20 million Canadian, the National Gallery of Canada is being forced to return the gift to philanthropist Joey Tanenbaum, reports the Ottawa Citizen. The gallery, which has struggled with financial difficulties that led to the recent cancellation of two major upcoming exhibitions, is apparently unable to meet the undisclosed requirements set by the donor. The collection is composed mainly of sculpture and ceramics from the Neolithic period through the T'ang dynasty around 800 A.D. and will probably end up on loan at the Royal Ontario Museum.

The Robert Miller Gallery is hosting a fundraising event to benefit the Gore-Lieberman ticket featuring cocktails and a screening of Spike Jonze's video of the vice president's family at home tomorrow, Oct. 18. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Gore Lieberman, an organization that includes such art world heavy-hitters as Donald Baechler, Mary Boone, Patrick Callery, Paula Cooper, Charles Cowles, April Gornik, Maya Lin, Brice and Helen Marden, Joan Nelson, Philip Pearlstein and Joan Snyder. Contributions are $150 per person; call (212) 344-8420 for more information.

Clementine Gallery, multi-media art promoters Mixed Greens and curator Janet Phelps are introducing a new art fair to New York's meat market district, Nov. 3-5, 2000. The Meat Market Art Fair, a collaborative effort bringing together 24 contemporary art galleries, is being held in a 19th-century warehouse that is about to be gutted and renovated, allowing artists full freedom to create temporary site-specific pieces. The participating galleries include 123 Watts, Alleged Galleries, Arena@Feed, Artists Space, Bellwether, Clementine Gallery, Cornell DeWitt Gallery, Creative Time, CRP, Debs & Co., DeChiara/Stewart, Derek Eller Gallery, Inman Gallery, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Sara Meltzer Gallery, Mixed Greens, Momenta Art, Mark Passek Gallery, Pierogi, Roebling Hall, Starwood Urban Investments Projects for the Arts, Ten in One Gallery, Stephanie Theodore/Girl Wonder and White Columns. The fair is located at 430 W. 14th St. at Washington St. and admission is free.

The Metropolitan Museum has introduced the first installment of Timeline of Art History, a permanent addition to its website featuring works of art from the museum's collection presented in a chronological format. The current segment features 300 works of art of the ancient world, from 10,000 B.C. to 500 A.D. to coincide with "The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West," on view Oct. 3, 2000-Jan. 14, 2001.

Artists in all media are invited to submit proposals to produce a new work in Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center's production studios. Projects may include CD Audio, CD-ROM, CD-E, interactive installation/performance, television, web or radio broadcast. Up to 12 one-year residencies are available and they include access to studios featuring a complete multimedia lab, digital audio recording/editing and video editing systems, a full-time engineer, a three suite professional studio and other materials, as well as a $6,000 stipend. The deadline is Nov. 1; visit the Harvestworks website for applications and more information.

Art collector know that bargains lurk in benefit auctions. So, pay attention! Nonprofit children's services agency Green Chimneys is holding a silent auction benefit featuring works by contemporary photographers, including Sante D'Orazio, Arthur Elgort, Steven Klein, David LaChapelle, Patrick McMullan, George Pitts and Mick Rock. The event is being held Nov. 16 at Digizone, 113 W. 30th St. For more information, contact Liz Vap at (646) 765-6717.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
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