RENATE HOFMANN ESTATE SCANDAL
"From Caviar to Cat Food," read the banner headline on today's New York Daily News, heralding a sad and tortuous story about the final years of Renate Hofmann, the late widow of Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. Though Renate died in 1992, the court papers in the long-running struggle over the $50-million Hofmann estate were only unsealed in recent weeks. The story has all the tabloid trappings -- namely, a wealthy but paranoid schizophrenic widow living with her cats and liquor in a garbage-strewn oceanfront home in Bal Harbour, Fla., neglected by her court-appointed guardians -- U.S Trust bank and lawyer Richard Covey -- who were eventually accused of milking the estate for more than a decade. After the original executor of the Hofmann estate, Robert Warshaw, threatened to file suit for "extraordinary conscious pain and suffering" endured by Hofmann, U.S. Trust and Covey paid the estate $8.7 million to settle the matter, and then tried to keep the court record sealed. The estate now has gone to its proper beneficiaries, including the Hans Hofmann trust that oversees the artist's work.
DOROTHEUM ON THE BLOCK
The Austrian auction house Dorotheum is for sale, according to the Wall Street Journal. Founded in 1707 and now the world's sixth largest auctioneer, Dorotheum is estimated to be worth as much as $63 million -- though other sources put the value at half that. Dorotheum CEO Alfred Karny said that potential buyers are lining up around the block. In addition to Christie's and Sotheby's, interested parties include the investment group Unternehmens Invest AG, the Austrian auction house Wiener Kunst Auktionen, the online auctioneer OneTwoSold, investment banker Johannes Strohmayer, lingerie maker Palmers and the Austrian private bank Meinl Bank. Dorotheum's 2000 profit was about $2.2 million on total auction sales of $96.6 million.
ISLAMIC GLASS AT THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum is billing its fall exhibition, "Glass of the Sultans," Oct. 2, 2001-Jan. 13, 2002, as the first-ever museum survey of rare Islamic glass and the first scholarly reassessment of the material anywhere in 70 years. The show features 160 spectacular works, including seventh-century examples showing the influence of Roman glassmaking, Iranian relief-cut glass, ornately gilded and enameled 13th- and 14th-century works and 19th century Persian and Indian glass. The principal lender to the show is the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., where the exhibition is presently on view, May 24-Sept. 3, 2001. After its appearance at the Met, the show travels to the Benaki Museum in Athens, Feb. 20-May 15, 2001. The 340-page catalogue of the exhibition, published by the Metropolitan and distributed by Yale University Press, features 176 color images and an illustrated section of glassworking techniques; it is available in both softcover ($45) and clothbound ($65).
LAND ESCAPES 2001
Want to immerse yourself in art and landscape this coming week, July 21-27, 2001? Go to "Land Escapes 2001" on Mount Desert Island just off the coast of Maine, where experimental artists, filmmakers and writers are gathering for the first-ever six-day fest put on by the Mount Desert Symposium in the Arts. Attractions include sculpture exhibitions, documentary and experimental films, a panel on "Art in the Landscape" and a lecture by Fairfield Porter biographer Justin Spring -- all free of charge. Participants include sculptor Nancy Bowen, Dieu Donne Paper Mill founder Susan Gosin, Artforum publisher and filmmaker Anthony Korner, critic Patricia Phillips and several others. For more info, call (207) 244-3475.
STIRLING ARCHIVE TO CANADA
The Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal has snatched the archive of the late postmodern pioneer, James Stirling, for ca. £1 million from Britain. The archive includes nearly 10,000 drawings and models by the British architect, who was known for his designs of the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (1977-83), the extension of the Tate Gallery (1987) in London and the Fogg and Sackler museums (1985) in Cambridge. According to a report in the London Independent, Stirling's widow and former partner tried to convince the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of British Artists to house his papers, but to no avail.
ROSS TO HEAD WHITE COLUMNS Lauren Ross, assistant director of White Columns since 1997, has been named director of the New York alternative space. A freelance curator and writer, Ross has worked at the Whitney Museum and Barbara Gladstone Gallery. She succeeds Paul Ha, who has been named deputy director of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Conn.
PINCHBECK MEMORIAL EXHIBITION IN CHELSEA
Abstract Expressionist painter Peter Pinchbeck, who died in 2000, is the subject of a memorial exhibition at Greene Naftali gallery in Chelsea, July 18-Aug. 10, 2001. Born in England, Pinchbeck first made his mark in the "Primary Structures" exhibition at the Jewish Museum in 1966, and turned to painting in the 1970s. The exhibition is being done in association with Gary Snyder Fine Art, which represents the estate. Pinchbeck was the father of the art writer Daniel Pinchbeck.
-- compiled by Evonne Gambrell, Lily Kim and the Artnet Magazine staff.