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On February 9, 1998 the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees ended Richard Glanton's presidency. The move appeared to be rooted in long-time friction between Glanton and Lincoln University President Niara Sudarkasa, who until Monday was Foundation vice-president. The Board appointed Lincoln board chairman and alumnus, Dr. Kenneth Sadler, as its new president and Randolph Kinder as vice president. Sudarkasa will now serve as board secretary. Glanton remains on the board.
Glanton's ouster ends almost eight years of control over the Foundation. When he began, the institution operated primarily as a school as intended by its founder. The income exceeded expenses and it had minimal legal bills of $29,000. Now the Foundation is running a deficit. The 1996 legal fees were over $800,000. Glanton betrayed Dr. Barnes' mandates, eviscerated the educational program and turned the school into a museum. In the words of the judge who presides over the Barnes trust, Glanton saw "the intent of the donor as a hurdle to be overcome rather than a guiding light." It is a disgrace that Lincoln University, the attorney general's office and the courts allowed him to operate for this long.
His tenure began with exorbitant claims for gallery restoration expenses. According to one insider, they were ten times higher than prior estimates and "deliberately overstated." Under Glanton, the board filed a court petition to sell some of the Foundation's artwork, against recommendations of the art advisory committee set up by his predecessor. Plans to sell up to $200 million worth of paintings were thwarted by adverse reaction from the museum community and legal action by parties concerned with preserving the Foundation's central role as a teaching institution.
Glanton's next move was a 1992 court request for permission to allow a tour of Foundation artwork. With a high-dollar law firm and the National Gallery of Art behind the plan, he achieved a favorable, although highly questionable, court ruling. The judge refused to hear opposing testimony from an art transportation and exhibition expert who would have testified that the preparation time was far too short and could endanger the works. The $7 million restoration figure used to justify the tour quickly skyrocketed to $10 and then $12 million as Glanton "huckstered" -- Judge Stefan's term -- the collection to additional venues. In 1995, the tour ended along with arguable damage to some works, and questions about the construction work. (see photos) The last venue, Munich, was turned down by the Orphans' Court only to be overruled in three days by a Superior Court panel who made the decision without the full record of the case available. This venue also resulted in a lawsuit against the Foundation by the City of Rome.
Under Glanton, the board granted rights to a catalog of the collection -- against the Dr. Barnes' express ban on "copying" any of the artwork -- to Knopf publishers, shortly after Knopf owner S.I. Newhouse made a $2 million gift to Lincoln University. After a costly legal battle with trustees of a trust set up by Barnes' long-time associate, Violette de Mazia, the Knopf issue was dropped without a trial. The state attorney general agreed to drop the case despite admissions by de Mazia counsel that "the evidence could have supported a decision which would have removed either some or all of the Barnes trustees."
During Glanton's reign, to use his word, critics were summarily dismissed. Glanton booted art advisor and Lincoln trustee, Richard Feigen, who publicly criticized his sell-off plans. Later came the disbanding of the advisory panel of art-world professionals set up by his predecessor Dr. Franklin Williams. Glanton also fired a teacher, Richard Segal for his open criticism; he dismissed Wendy Samet, a conservator who had expressed concern over plans to loan certain fragile works, one of which was arguably damaged and another removed from the tour early; he expelled a student who was an opposing party to the legal proceedings to overturn the Barnes Indenture of Trust; he "forced out" in her words, art program director and de Mazia trustee Esther van Sant.
Glanton termed the art education program which was central to the creation of the Foundation "hokum" and an "hors d'oeuvre." Upon her resignation, former director Van Sant claimed he "significantly diminished the Barnsian art education program." The 1989-90 academic year just prior to Glanton's arrival had an art department enrollment of 227. By the 1996-97 year, enrollment was down to 107. Partly to blame for the drop was his elimination of fourth and fifth-year seminar classes. Glanton forbade the practice, in use since the 1920s, of arranging paintings for lectures. One teacher noted that since students must now move from room to room, "it is difficult for them to carry colors and lines in their heads [and therefore] it is uncertain whether the students are always able to make the connections between the paintings." Glanton also eliminated private teacher preparation time in the galleries. They must now prepare for their lectures along with the tourists.
In late 1996, after a year in which over 97,000 people flooded the Foundation's galleries, thanks to promotion by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, tourism agencies and hotels, the Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board concluded that the Barnes Foundation was now conducting a "primary museum use." The transformation Glanton began in 1990 with the blessing of long-time Barnes nemesis Walter Annenberg was complete. However, for the moment, his unwillingness to apply for a zoning special exception has resulted in an injunction limiting visitors to a total of 500 per week.
A document filed by Lower Merion Township notes: "The Barnes's financial records show that it has spent a king's ransom in legal fees in recent years, at Mr. Glanton's direction." It listed fees totaling $2.9 million. Tax records for 1996 show $832,367 in legal fees, and recently cleared defendants in the Civil Rights suit Glanton initiated are suing the Foundation for $1.8 million in legal fees.
Glanton often justified his disregard for the terms of the Foundation Indenture of Trust by claiming his actions constituted fundraising. He routinely hosted individuals on private tours of the Foundation against Dr. Barnes' ban on "special privileges." His claim that these tours constitute fundraising falls short. The 1996 tax return shows "various contributions" totaling only $6,023. Glanton claimed that spending Foundation funds on lavish meals was part of his "raising $500,000" with the 1995 re-opening party that violated Dr. Barnes' prohibition on social events at the Foundation. Yet a 1995 audited financial statement shows "Net special event revenue" of only $82,930.
In 1990, the Barnes Foundation had a surplus of revenue over expenses of $164,921. This on only endowment income and less than $100,000 from admissions, tuition and other sources. Despite a five-fold increase in admission price, a gallery shop that in 1996 grossed $850,312 and over $200,000 in 1996 licensing and book project revenues, Glanton's successor says the Foundation is currently running a deficit. [Inquirer 2/15/98]
When we last visited the issue of private tours of the Barnes gallery which violate the Indenture of Trust, the Orphans' Court had ordered the attorney general to investigate and report on these activities. Recall that the violations were brought to the Court's attention not by the supposed watchdog of charities, the attorney general, but by a private citizen. At the time, we predicted the attorney general's response would consist of "the usual complicity, occasionally flavored with half-hearted concern for the educational program or the safety of the collection." True to form, the attorney general's report, which found undeniable evidence that private tours took place on non-public days, follows the Trustees' tack that "if the [tour] groups share an educational or cultural focus, or if an educational program is indeed carried out, one must conclude that no proscription has been violated." Note the shift from the Indenture language which limited admissions on non-public days to "students and instructors of institutions which conduct courses in art and art appreciation" to "groups that share an educational or cultural focus."
This classic frame shift is similar to the attorney general's position on two other private events which were also the subject of contempt petitions -- a press party in December 1992 and a special lecture and tour for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in February 1993. In those cases, the attorney general ignored the Indenture language that "special privileges are forbidden" and rationalized the clearly exclusive events as "publicizing the tour" and "fundraising." Throughout the tenure of three attorneys general, the modus operandi has been remarkably consistent. The real issue is always sidelined for something else. Thus there was no serious investigation of the purported "emergency" nature of the building renovations or of the costs in the original painting tour proceedings. To have done so might have revealed that the costs were overblown and therefore there was no need to violate the indenture. Instead, the issue was shifted to one over concern for the safety for the paintings -- a safe bet for the Trustees with the National Gallery of Art making the pitch and the attorney general refusing to hear opposing expert witnesses.
In his clear rebuke of the position of the attorney general and the actions of the Barnes Trustees, Judge Ott dismissed the concept that the provision of a $500 lecture to any group who could afford it was honoring the terms of the Indenture:
In Paragraph 30 of the indenture, as amended April 30, 1946, Dr. Barnes specified that, on the days the gallery is not open to the public, it "shall be open... solely and exclusively for educational purposes -- to students and instructors of institutions which conduct courses in art and art appreciation, which are approved by the Trustees of the Donee." The Attorney General's Office, while urging compliance with the educational purpose requirement, overlooks the second mandate in Paragraph 30 that attendance be limited to art students and faculty on "non-public" days. The group admissions policy now in place brings to mind the "hall for rent" concept which has already been rejected by this Court and the Superior Court in the context of holding social functions at the gallery. [In re the Barnes Foundation, a Corporation, 453 Pa. Super. 243, 683 A.2d at 894 (1996)] Barnes, supra at 251, 683 A. 2nd at 898. At present, any group willing to pay the $500 lecture fee can sign up for a private tour. This development flies in the face of Dr. Barnes' expressions that the purpose of his gift was "democratic" and "without special privilege," and that his Trustees should ensure that "the plain people" have "free access" to the collection and arboretum. See Paragraph 30 and 33 of the Indenture. The Trustees will therefore be directed to act in accordance with their clear instructions as to who may enter the facility on "non-public" days. [Memorandum and Opinion Sur Report of the Office of the Attorney General, 11/5/97] Full text is available on our web site at http://members.aol.com/barneswtch.
Judge Ott also took note of a social function held at the Foundation for the benefit of the Pennsylvania Ballet. See Barnes Watch 40, December 1996. Typically, the attorney general's representative:
... opined only that this event "appeared" to have violated the Superior Court's holding that Paragraph 33 of the indenture should be interpreted to permit only those on-site functions at the Foundation "which have as their sole purpose the raising of funds for the institution. [id.]
Once again, Judge Ott did not mince words. "The undersigned finds, without hesitation, that the Trustees did contravene this judicial directive."
In light of the above blatant violations of the Indenture, Ott issued an Order directing the Board of Trustees "to cease and desist from conducting group tours on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except for groups consisting of 'students and instructors of institutions which conduct courses in art and art appreciation.'" Since Glanton has tried to pawn off many of the violative activities as "fundraising," Ott also directed the Trustees to "formulate a development plan for fund raising, and shall adopt same as a resolution after obtaining the approval of the Office of the Attorney General."
Don't be surprised if the Trustees come up with a catch-all like the paragraph in their first petition to amend the indenture -- omitted in the final version -- which asked to turn the absolute prohibition against "society functions" into the following: "[A]t no time after the death of said Donor, shall there be held in any building or buildings, without the express approval of the Board of Trustees, any society functions..." [highlighted text added by the Trustees.] Need we comment on what the attorney general might do?
The Court's acceptance of the original painting tour to Washington, Paris and Tokyo, as well as the additional venues to Toronto and Fort Worth, was largely conditioned on the premise that the works were safer on tour than in the "deteriorated" galleries at the Foundation. In May, 1992 Glanton testified: "The pictures will be in a much better environment by virtue of them being housed in these facilities." At the same hearing, National Gallery of Art exhibition organizer Dodge Thompson assured the Court that "There is enormous risk even for the Barnes paintings to be at The Barnes Foundation today." He even called that risk "greater than the risk of the tour."
The Trustees purported to rely heavily on the National Gallery's advice. Trustee Cuyler Walker testified that "The additional reason for our working with the National Gallery was our lack of experience in dealing with an exhibition of this type."
As the tour wore on, evidence of the National Gallery's duplicity began to emerge. When a Picasso was damaged on the Tokyo leg of the tour, the National Gallery's conservation chief made an internal memo of the event which stated that because he considered the damage not to "original paint" the damage and the repair by a Tokyo conservator was "not noted on the condition report." Never mind that the object had been damaged.
Another example was the same conservator's written remark that additional travel of Seurat's les Poseuses was "very questionable. Our original consideration was for three venues. I do not think it should travel any farther, especially by truck." Later, when the Philadelphia Museum of Art wanted to exhibit the painting, the story changed. "When it was examined at the Barnes Foundation, the question was whether it could travel safely to four venues and our consideration was that it could." So off the painting went, by truck, to its fourth venue.
Just when it looked like the Trustees might need the National Gallery to support a new tour (see "Glanton's China Plans" elsewhere in this newsletter) comes word of the latest National Gallery flip-flop. In a 1996 interview in the Legal Intelligencer, Richard Glanton claimed that he rejected Rome's Mueseo Capitolino as an exhibition venue because it was "not suitable based on a recommendation from the National Gallery." If this were true, the same National Gallery apparently disregarded its own best advice when it sent its Matisse Pianist and Checker Players to the Museo Capitolino where it was recently vandalized along with two other works in the show.
Barnes Watch has always held the opinion that the Barnes Foundation is the safest place for the works. All crowded special exhibitions, state-of-the-art security measures notwithstanding, create needless extra risk. However, word that school children may have caused the damage in Rome raises the question of just how safe the Barnes galleries really are now that the Trustees are admitting groups of children as young as kindergarten age.
It would appear that the Inquirer, while promoting the Barnes Foundation as a tourist attraction, is unwilling to have the architect of the betrayal of Dr. Barnes' trust indenture look bad. Thus while Main Line Life clearly reported "Glanton voted out by Barnes Trustees," the Inquirer headline read "Glanton steps down as head of the Barnes Foundation." The next day an article headlining Glanton as a "man of influence" with a "bold style" referred to him "step[ing] aside." Again on the front page of the Sunday "Review" section, a photo caption says he "stepped down." In all three prominently placed articles none of Glanton's detractors or litigation foes are interviewed. The single Main Line Life piece included responses to Glanton's exit by four individuals involved in the present litigation.
The Inquirer continues to portray the Barnes Foundation controversy solely in terms of its value as a tourist attraction. A February 15 article included exclusively sources from the "Barnes as a museum" viewpoint. Typical was tourism promoter Tom Muldoon's reference to the Foundation as "a resource" and "an economic engine." The article had a one-sentence reference to "Barnes loyalists [who] believe the foundation should still function today primarily as a school." Yet there was not a single source cited to explain the position even though it is what the founder wanted and is mandated by the Orphans' Court.
The Inquirer did run one fairly critical article by art critic Edward Sozanski which called the impression that Glanton "liberated the foundation's fabulous secret art collection for the enjoyment of art-lovers around the world, utter nonsense." However, even this piece distorted the record in claiming that "Glanton and his board had the good sense not to change anything" in the "long overdue refurbishing." First, Glanton and the board had no choice as the Court ordered that, "The tour is permitted... upon the express conditions that, following completion of the renovations, the paintings be returned to their places on the walls as directed by Dr. Barnes." Second, everything was not put back because an entire display room was eliminated by an elevator.
Soznaski finds no fault with the party line that the painting tour was necessary to pay for the "long overdue" refurbishing. Like most of his media colleagues, he ignores claims that only $1.5 million was required for necessary repairs and the inescapable conclusion that the $12 million "refurbishing" was grossly inflated not to "keep the buildings in first class order and repair" but to justify the tour and betrayal of Dr. Barnes' wishes. He calls the $16 million rental of the collection a "success" without ever addressing claims that priceless works were damaged by the venture.
Now that Glanton is out, the newspaper is reportedly working on an investigative piece about the Foundation's finances. Readers of Barnes Watch will wonder why it took them seven years to decide this might be newsworthy.
The media and the courts accepted without question the Trustees' claims of the need for anywhere from $7 to $18 million in renovation costs. A classic was the Inquirer's "Into the back rooms of the Barnes to see a museum in sore disrepair" which was the result of a reporter's private tour with Glanton wherein all information was supplied directly by the Foundation and went unquestioned in the article. However, there were plenty of clues that the costs were suspect. For instance, at the court hearing where the Trustees presented their case for the restoration, the man who did the actual cost estimates was not presented as a witness.
In 1993, A.F. Brown made the case that the renovation budget was largely contrived in his lengthy "Barnes Case: How the Trustees Faked It: Renovation Budgets and Other Hoaxes."
One example cited was a $135,000 expense for a sprinkler system. The Foundation's own consultants noted that "the intrusive nature and cost of adding sprinklers may ultimately rule them out on this project."
Not to be deterred by his own experts, Glanton testified that the fire detection and sprinkler system "needs complete replacing. What we have in there is totally inadequate, in fact, probably not even in compliance with the latest laws with respect to the type of system we would have to install at this time." [N.T. 5/21/92, p. 128] While giving the court the impression that sprinklers were needed as a matter of code, Glanton never actually said that the sprinklers were required. In fact, evidence recently cited in Lower Merion Township's Statement of Undisputed Facts filed in the Federal civil rights case unveils the sprinkler hoax. It notes: "The Barnes volunteered to install sprinklers." Only after "Barnes decided to install sprinklers" was the foundation "required to meet the Code for sprinklers."
After the Barnes Trustees returned to Court claiming construction cost overruns necessitated additional tours to Toronto and Fort Worth, Judge Stefan expressed doubt that $3.5 million would be left over to add to the endowment as Barnes attorney Bruce Kauffman was boasting. To reassure the judge, Kauffman, who was recently appointed to a federal judgeship, stated: "There's not going to be any additional cost overruns. And indeed, Mr. Glanton will testify that he's going to do everything he can to cut this back, to try to make it less than ten million dollars." In fact, according to Foundation press releases, they spent $12 million.
Two years to the day that the Inquirer announced former Attorney General Ernie Preate's sentencing for mail fraud, the paper included him in a list of "the Keystone State's creme-de-la-creme." Preate, who was found by a federal judge to have abused the public trust as attorney general and who can no longer practice law, was at the Pennsylvania Society's year-end party at New York's Waldorf-Astoria -- an event which the Inquirer described as "de rigueur for Pennsylvania's political patricians and business barons." No mention was made in the article of Preate's inmate status at this time last year or what a convicted felon was doing among "senior public officials who have a tremendous control of our lives and people seeking something from them." Lest we forget, it was Preate who as attorney general took no position on the sale of Barnes Foundation artwork or the $2 million grant by the Newhouse Foundation to Lincoln University shortly before the Barnes Foundation catalog was let to Newhouse-owned Knopf, and who approved a first round of painting tours and then a second even after evidence was presented of damage to Matisse's mural la Danse. Recall as well the tens of thousands in campaign contributions by Barnes and Lincoln officials, their friends and lawyers that went to Preate. Of course none of that ever seemed to bother the Inquirer. So why spoil a good party where not only convicted felons but even "journalists and their publishers go to mingle over fine wine and finger food"? [Inquirer 12/15/97]
In other news, the law firm that defended Preate during the federal investigation of him has agreed to return to the state $304,425 in Preate's personal legal fees that were improperly billed to the state. Preate will not be reimbursing the firm. Nice work if you can get it.
In November, the Inquirer ran a lengthy three-part report on the Stephen Girard Estate. Considering the Inquirer's advocacy of the betrayal of the terms of the Barnes Indenture of Trust, it is surprising that they would do a critical investigation of the Girard Estate. However, the report was evidently so discomforting to the Board of City Trusts (BCT), which administers the estate, that the board announced they would nominate a "Girard Independent Committee" to "conduct a comprehensive review of the funding, operations and activities of the Girard Estate, Girard College and the Sundry Trusts."
In light of the inevitable cynicism with which such a self-examination is sure to be received, one might expect that a board beset with probing questions about its handling of charitable moneys and public accountability would turn to individuals with unimpeachable credentials. To whom did they turn? Among the five "prominent independent citizens" selected was Richard Glanton.
Here is a "prominent" individual who as president of the Barnes Foundation has spent millions of charitable dollars on lawsuits. Under his leadership, the Foundation filed a Federal Civil Rights suit against Lower Merion Township, its commissioners and the Foundation's neighbors, which was summarily dismissed and which has put the Foundation at risk for $1.8 million in fee claims by the former defendants. Glanton, who in 1993 was found by a jury to have defamed and to have "engaged in pervasive and regular sexually discriminatory conduct and created a hostile environment" toward a female associate, is currently the subject of another defamation case brought by the Lower Merion Township Commissioners. Then there is the self-dealing alleged in the July 1997 issue of Philadelphia magazine which cites sources who say that Glanton offered Barnes Foundation legal business to a Lincoln University trustee and his law associate in order to influence their votes for Lincoln board chairman. Could the Board of City Trusts have overlooked these items?
Of more than passing interest is an investigation BCT board member and state senator Vincent Fumo began in October of some $530,000 spent since 1988 to renovate Lincoln University's president's house. At the helm during the renovations was Niara Sudarkasa who is said to have lead the effort to oust Glanton as Foundation president. Three days before the Foundation's Trustees voted Glanton out, he sent a memo to several of them who are also Lincoln board members warning them of the alleged seriousness of Fumo's investigation. Fumo's office would not comment on allegations that Glanton had prompted the investigation.
Last August, the Barnes Foundation hired Linda Z. Marston as administrative manager. Marston is the wife of David Marston who is Glanton's law partner and who was formerly at Buchanan Ingersoll where he brought the Foundation's alleged painting theft suit against the de Mazia Trust. An Inquirer article on her appointment mentioned no background in education or the arts. According to the Inquirer, Marston spent a couple of stints in what appear to be political appointments at the Department of Health and Human Services and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to a memo from Niara Sudarkasa, Glanton hired Marston "without informing, much less consulting, the board of trustees." She apparently first learned of Marston's hiring in the newspaper. Marsotn resigned shortly after Glanton's ouster.
Glanton's creation of what Sudarkasa terms a "senior-most management position," raises the issue of the limits on personnel prescribed by the Indenture of Trust. The Indenture specifically refers to certain personnel:
Art director; Director of Education; not more than four men as gallery attendants and watchmen; one engineer who shall be in charge of all apparatus for heat and moisture controls, air conditioning and similar or allied matters; one stenographer and clerk. In connection with the Arboretum, and in addition to the superintendent and curator thereof, Donee shall employ sufficient men [grounds keepers], and may also employ lecturers, not exceeding six in number; such cleaners and janitors as may be necessary... No other administrative or executive officers or clerical assistants shall be engaged or employed by Donee except those above specified. Not more than three teachers shall be employed and paid for with Foundation funds. [Emphasis added]
During Glanton's tenure, there has been a catalog project coordinator, a public relations person, gallery shop and audio guide sales people and now an administrative manager, all hirings prohibited by the indenture. We note also Niara Sudarkasa's early proposal -- revisited in an October 1996 board meeting -- for "...fellowships and professorships that would be funded by the Foundation and administered through Lincoln University." This scheme, for which she had proposed an endowment of over $16 million, would violate not only the hiring limitations in the indenture but also the stipulation that the Foundation "is not to be merged in or absorbed by any other institution."
In mid-November an injunction requested by Lower Merion Township and upheld by the Commonwealth Court compelled the Barnes Foundation to limit the hours of public visitation to those in effect before it closed for renovations in 1993. The Foundation's telephone message stated that: "Due to a Court order" public visiting is now 9:30 to 5:00 on Friday and Saturday with a maximum of 200 visitors and 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday with a maximum of 100. A sign posted at the Foundation's gate also refers to a "court order."
It appears the Foundation is playing a public relations game to deflect criticism from the tourists it has been wooing for the past two years. By referring to the court order, the Foundation seems to say "it is not our fault you can not get in." However, if anyone is to blame for the current court-ordered public visiting limits at the Barnes Foundation it is the Trustees themselves. In December 1996, the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board ruled that the unfettered increase in visitors to the gallery had created a principal use as a museum which is not permitted in an RAA zoned district. However, it proposed a remedy, which the Trustees have not pursued.
In its opinion, the zoning board suggested that were it to apply for a special exception: "Barnes could use that provision as a vehicle for the Board to determine whether any given level, type or intensity of use is accessory to its permitted educational institution. Plans that restrict public access to reasonable levels, that limit summer access and shift some activities to weekdays, and make the gallery's impact mode like that of an educational institution support an argument that gallery use is accessory." [emphasis supplied]
When the Barnes Foundation sued Lower Merion Township, its commissioners and seventeen neighbors of the Foundation for alleged Civil Rights violations, we noted that
[A] likely outcome could be a hoard of lawsuits filed against the Foundation by the people its trustees have accused of "conspiracy" and racism. Not only would legal fees be enormous, but judgments against the Foundation could likely bankrupt the institution and force the sale or another tour of its "assets."
Now that the Civil Rights suit has been thrown out, defendants in that case are suing for compensation for their legal fees. The fees, as listed in the Legal Intelligencer total over $1.8 million. Add to this the money the Foundation spent on legal fees while pursuing the case, and, unless insurance is paying them, the fees to defend the Trustees against the state defamation suit brought by the Township's commissioners. That case is still pending, as is the Township's counter-suit in Federal Court. Meanwhile, as predicted, Glanton has begun work on new tour venues. See "China Plans" in this newsletter.
The Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has elected Barnes Foundation trustee and Lincoln University President Niara Sudarkasa to its board. It is surprising that an institution which relies heavily on donations would choose as a board member a Barnes trustee who sought court approval to betray a donor's wishes and to sell off parts of that collection. Even after the Trustees had dropped their court request to violate the Barnes Indenture ban on painting sales, Sudarkasa continued to promote the concept. She inquired as to whether objects other than paintings could be sold, suggested the sale of "one of the African pieces" and at one point, she conditioned her approval of the loan of paintings on reviving the request to the court for the sale of "one or two works of art."
What message does Sudarkasa's selection as trustee send to the Philadelphia Museum's potential donors? It could be argued that her disregard for the sanctity of trusts is probably a non-issue since the museum already has a dismal record of upholding trusts, having recently broken the terms that for decades kept the renowned Johnson Collection together in its own separate space.
Since museums generally choose wealthy trustees who can make large donations, the selection of an academic from a historically black college -- albeit someone with little or no background in art -- might be viewed as lending diversity to the board. However, there may be another reason the museum would want to polish Sudarkasa'a image. Notes from the January 29, 1996 Barnes Board of Trustees meeting refer to "other cooperative efforts" in an entry concerning the Philadelphia Museum. With the specter of new tours in the offing, the museum may want to keep a close ally on the Barnes board should the opportunity arise to repeat its own record-breaking Barnes Foundation exhibition.
In his 1991 ruling which allowed the first loan of Barnes Foundation paintings, the late Judge Louis Stefan commented that "the Trustees' suggested amendments to the Indenture do speak in the plural, and do give rise to the suspicion that the intentions of the Trustees might be somewhat more ambitious than what their present request has indicated." Almost from the date of that decision, Glanton was already "huckstering" -- Stefan's term -- the artwork for more venues. After pulling off three extra tours while the Foundation gallery renovations dragged on, Glanton now seems set for another round.
This past September, the Inquirer reported that Glanton was traveling with a "cultural, educational and economic delegation" to Shanghai and that he expected to "meet with the head of Shanghai's art museum in an effort to schedule a Barnes exhibition there in 1999." On October 31, the paper quoted Herb Vederman, Philadelphia's deputy mayor for economic development who said that the "six-day trip resulted in 'significant progress' toward a future showing in Shanghai of the Barnes Foundation art treasures."
Since the attorney general did nothing about the allegations in the City of Rome case which claimed that Glanton traded tour rights for personal gain and legal business, it is easy to see how and perhaps why he might try to pull off a new tour. With the Foundation spending millions on law suits, and potentially millions more to pay the legal fees of the parties it has sued, Glanton, and now perhaps his successors may return to Orphans' Court with the familiar poverty story.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Saylor, who was "not recommended" for State Supreme Court by the Pennsylvania Bar Association was elected to the post in November's general election. The Bar Association noted that he has not demonstrated "a high level of legal scholarship." Saylor was also one of the three judges who overturned the Orphans' Court ruling denying an additional painting tour to Munich.
The Munich case appellate panel which included Saylor, held a telephone conference hearing without waiting for the availability of the full transcript of the case, a striking departure from the law. Nevertheless they allowed the tour, ignoring Orphans' Court Judge Stanley R. Ott's ruling that: "The Trustees failed to meet their burden of proving that the proposed additional venue is necessary to cover the costs of ongoing renovations and to provide future repairs."
The panel waited ten months before issuing a written opinion and never explained why they ruled without the availability of the record. The opinion was a ridiculous farce which claimed that "the reasoning of Judge Stefan, as applied to new facts controls in this case with the same opportunities (gain without harm) central to Judge Stefan's decision." However, Stefan had ruled that:
"The basic justification for allowing the tour to additional venues must find support in the necessity of permitting [the Trustees] to comply with Dr. Barnes' charge to his Trustees that "all of the buildings and improvements of Donee shall at all times be kept in first class order and repair."
The trier of fact, Judge Ott, found that the Trustees' case did not meet this criterion since the Foundation had more than enough money to complete the renovations for which Judge Stefan had allowed the tour. One might expect a judge running for the state's highest court to know that only the impossibility of maintaining the Settlor's intent under the trust terms is a legal reason for breaching those terms. There is no such principle in trust law or in Judge Stefan's reasoning as "gain without harm."
The Inquirer decried Saylor's election in its editorial pages. However, the Inquirer ignored the travesty of justice that Saylor participated in by overturning the Munich decision and made no comment when the opinion came out.
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