Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Polaroid Collection Update

Interesting report in The Art Newspaper: "A group led by a former US magistrate judge has launched an 11th hour campaign to prevent the auction of photographs from the Polaroid collection." The group is said to be "working towards filing a motion for a rehearing at the Minnesota bankruptcy court that awarded sale rights to Sotheby’s last August." The works are scheduled to be sold at Sotheby's in New York in June.

The former magistrate judge -- Sam Joyner -- "believes that both the Delaware Bankruptcy Court that awarded transfer of the Polaroid Collection in 2002 and the Minnesota Bankruptcy Court that approved the Sotheby’s sale in 2009, 'acted without full knowledge of the restrictive language in the many and varied licence agreements'." He says "I don’t think that the number of these licence agreements was presented to [the Judge] as fully and completely as it should have been. We hope to provide them with that full knowledge. There are hundreds of photographers, and thousands of images involved."

Sotheby's responded: "On August 28, 2009 the federal bankruptcy court in St Paul approved Sotheby’s auction of approximately 1,200 works from the Polaroid Collection. Public notice of the hearing was given in the national media, and the hearing was well publicised. This order was not appealed and now has become a final order of the United States Bankruptcy Court."

And a reminder (and a call to action) from A.D. Coleman: "We should all keep in mind that, even assuming the auction by Sotheby’s goes through as planned, it includes only 1260 works out of an inventoried total of 15,936. That leaves 14,676 still in the hands of the court-appointed trustee, John R. Stoebner, for disposition. His job is to raise as much cash as he can, as quickly as he can, to settle the debts Tom Petters left in his wake. It’s a safe bet that Stoebner would much prefer to sell that entire collection, quickly, to a single buyer, and is prepared to negotiate. ... In short, we need to help the trustee find this collection — complete as is, or minus the auction selection but otherwise intact — a good new home."

See here for background.