Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friede Feud Finished

At least tentatively so. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "Most of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum's cornerstone collection of Oceanic art will stay put under a deal that San Francisco officials have struck to resolve an inheritance dispute that threatened to have the collection dismantled. The tentative settlement ... will give the de Young clear title to 274 of 398 pieces of Papua New Guinea artwork housed at the city-owned museum - a compilation that nation's ambassador to the United States hailed as an 'unparalleled and extensive collection of masterpieces.'"

It's a complicated story. The Art Market Monitor says it "involves a dizzying number of agreements and cross-conflicts between the heirs" and, "along the way, Sotheby’s became a creditor" too. Kate Taylor took a crack at a summary in the NYT last year. The settlement seems to have some deaccession-ish aspects to it:

"John Friede had paid his brothers more than $22 million of the $30 million [he had agreed to pay them], but legal fees and interest made the shortfall around $10 million ... In April, the city agreed to sell 76 works not at the museum to help pay the Friedes' debts. Only some have been sold. Under the settlement, the balance John Friede owes his brothers will be set at $5.65 million and will be paid from three sources: John Friede's one-third share of the Pierre Bonnard painting 'Le dejeuner' that he owns with his brothers; a portion of a $3.7 million payment from his mother's estate that was to go the de Young to pay for upkeep, promotion and study of the Jolika Collection; and proceeds held in escrow from the sale of some of the works not housed at the museum ...."