In case you haven’t been following the convoluted saga of the Jolika Collection of Oceanic and Tribal art, here’s Kate Taylor’s excellent piece from the New York Times giving the background on this story of epic sibling rivalry. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle runs another installment in the soap opera as the De Young Museum deaccessions to try to settle the dispute:
The latest legal twist came Tuesday when City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a court challenge that accuses John Friede’s half brother of “malice and a desire to destroy the relationship between the Friedes and the museum” by opposing a $3.7 million payment to the de Young from Hall’s estate. Herrera contends the half brother, Thomas Jaffe, has intentionally harmed the museum and public by trying to block the payment, which was promised by the Friede family for the upkeep, promotion and study of the collection.
The artwork, named the Jolika Collection after the first letters in the Friedes’ three children’s names, was to be transferred over a period of years. While more than 400 pieces are on display at the museum, the vast majority of it remains at the Friedes’ home overlooking Long Island Sound in Rye, N.Y.
None of the 76 items to be sold is on display at the museum, and they are pieces that are either redundant or less significant than others in the collection, museum and city officials said.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but we’re wiling to swallow it,” Deputy City Attorney Don Margolis said. “The city’s overarching goal is to make sure (the collection) is available to the public.” [ . . . ]
Even brother Robert Friede, who has regularly sided with Jaffe in the dispute, questioned Jaffe’s opposition to those sales. In Florida court documents filed last week to compel the sale of the Bonnard painting, Robert Friede’s attorney wrote that “Tom is, in essence, objecting to the very relief he previously sought and successfully obtained from this court.”
Margolis called Jaffe’s position “kind of perverse.”
“Why are you frustrating efforts to get your debt paid?” Margolis said.
De Young Selling Tribal Art as Family Squabbles (SFGate.com)