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Art works in the old Chelsea Hotel lobby
Art works in the old Chelsea Hotel lobby


Mar. 14, 2012

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The art has disappeared from the walls of the newly managed Chelsea Hotel, and several of the artists and the hotel residents want to know where it went. The Chetrit Group, the developers who bought the hotel in August of 2011, evicted all the temporary tenants and continue to struggle with the permanent residents, apparently drove the works away in a truck when the hotel closed for renovation late last year, The Villager reports.

Perhaps the most important disappearance is Larry Rivers’ remake of a Rembrandt painting, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild as Dutch Masters (1978-79). Rivers, who died in 2002, was said by the director of the Larry Rivers Foundation to have placed the work on loan to the hotel in 1998. The foundation now wants it returned, and has threatened to file a lawsuit if need be.

Even though 11-year resident Mickie Esemplare and others have gathered letters from former owner Stanley Bard stating that the work belonged to the artists, tenants say they’ve gotten no response from Chetrit. Esemplare says she’s lost a collage that she had hung on the wall near her door, and Colleen Weinstein, widow of nightclub king Arthur Weinstein, said she is missing some of her husband’s photographs. 

Until the artwork is returned, The Villager says the group also wants to know “where the art is being kept, whether it is insured, protected from moisture, stored correctly, etc., but has been stonewalled.”

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