The San Francisco Chronicle’s art critic, Charles Desmarais, is having trouble getting details of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s deal with the Fisher family concerning the 100-year loan of the family’s art works to the museum.
The Fishers, like many private collectors, have been demanding enough in their constraints over how their art is shown that SFMoMA once turned down their bequest for going to far.
Since the death of Don Fisher and the building of a whole new venue, many of details of the loan are unknown.
Desmarais got this minimal information:
a grouping of Fisher collection works must hang together in the galleries once every 10 years.
And it turns out that much of the art remains in the possession of Doris Fisher, not the art foundation, which enables her to have works returned to her home:
But some of the agreement’s details cause some concern for SFMOMA’s sake. For example, though Benezra and his staff refer often to “the Fisher family” as the museum’s partner, most of the art, in fact, belongs to Doris Fisher alone, and the museum’s partnership is with an entity called the Fisher Art Foundation.
A 2013 federal income tax filing, the most recent available, lists Fisher and her three sons — including Bob, who is president of the SFMOMA board — as the foundation’s only trustees. That filing lists its art assets as worth $15,600,000 — a paltry fraction of a collection that contains single works worth that and more.
Unraveling SFMOMA’s deal for the Fisher collection (San Francisco Chronicle)