CLAIM FOR MET ART
Two works donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994 by long-time trustee Jayne Wrightsman are WW II Nazi art plunder, according to a recent report in the Boston Globe. The more important work, Monet's The Garden of Monet's House, Argenteuil, has been on view in the museum galleries until this year -- a claim for it was filed by an unidentified German citizen in March. The other work is the Netherlandish Man of Sorrows With Kneeling Donor, which was only used for conservation study and was never hung in the galleries. Both are listed in a Belgian government catalogue of looted art, which the Met somehow had overlooked.
VERSACE MEMORIAL SHOW
Meanwhile, the Met's Costume Institute has canceled a previously scheduled show on fashion history and slotted in a tribute to slain designer Gianni Versace instead. The exhibition opens Dec. 11, 1997-Mar. 22, 1998, after a special gala preview on Dec. 8, the celebrity-studded event that traditionally kicks off the new social season.
O'KEEFFE DIRECTOR OUT
Only 11 days after the opening of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., director Peter Hassrick has announced his resignation, effective Aug. 15. Hassrick said his departure had nothing to do with the recent appointment as president of Jay Cantor, former head of American paintings at Christie's.
The first-ever Barbie that references fine art makes its debut this weekend at a Barbie-collectible show in Irving, Tex., according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Dubbed Water Lily Barbie, the doll wears a dress decorated with Monet-inspired water lilies and costs $75.
PROJECT APPROVED, DESIGN CANNED
The Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C., has granted its approval for a new World War II memorial on the National Mall -- but has rejected the project design by Friedrich St. Florian of Providence, R.I. Florian's scheme calls for four quarter-circles of columns and berms of earth covered with roses. D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says nothing should go on the memorial's proposed Rainbow Pool site that would obstruct the view from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.
SAN JOSE FELLOWSHIP
Bay Area photographer Catherine Wagner has received the first $50,000 Visual Arts Fellowship from the San Jose Museum of Art. The prize, funded by SMJA trustee Michael J. Levinthal and his wife, Kathy Schlien, is to be awarded every two years and includes a touring exhibition of the winner's work. No applications, please -- candidates are nominated by a national advisory committee.
The 173-year-old Historical Society of Pennsylvania wants to sell off its art and artifact collection, a move that has eerie similarities to the shameful New-York Historical Society deacquisitions a few years back. Society executive director Susan Stitt says it has neither the facilities nor the funds to maintain the works, which include a $4-million portrait by John Singleton Copley (the only one in Philadelphia), the wampum belt given to William Penn by the Leni-Lenape in 1682 and a Rembrant Peale portrait of Thomas Jefferson's close personal friend, botanist Jose Francisco.
DORA MAAR, 1907-1997
Surrealist photographer Dora Maar, 89, who was lover and model for Picasso from 1936 to `45, died at her Paris apartment on July 16. Born Theodora Markovic in France, she spent her childhood in Argentina and returned to Paris around 1925. Maar never married and left no survivors. Among her photographs is a series chronicling the making of Picasso's Guernica. Her works were last exhibited at 1900-2000 gallery in Paris in 1990.
The Menil Collection in Houston has reinstalled its Surrealist holdings. "Surrealism," on view until Jan. 11, 1998, features more than 75 works by Cornell, Dalí, Duchamp, Magritte, Miró, Man Ray and Pablo Picasso.