This actually could be quite the issue. On the one hand, the question arises as to the circumstances surrounding the Four Season’s acquiring the painting. What was the contractual agreement–that they would maintain the painting, that it would stay in the same spot indefinitely, that it had to always be available to the public. Did they not make any provisions for this type of situation? I’m guessing that the case is going to hinge upon how significant the damage to the wall is, how much more damage would postponing the repair cause, and can they move the painting safely out and back. Maybe they could just cut the wall out with the painting, rebuild behind it, shore it up, then just replacing it in some artsy way? Or carefully slide boards behind it and lay it down to remove it? Either way, it’s important to give the owner his rights, but landowner rights are vital too. Plus, if the wall damage causes harm to someone later, who is liable for the injury? ** DB
“NEW YORK – New York’s storied Four Seasons restaurant has for decades harbored one of the city’s more unusual artworks: the largest Pablo Picasso painting in the United States. But a plan to move it has touched off a spat as sharply drawn as the bullfight crowd the canvas depicts.
Pitting a prominent preservation group against an art-loving real estate magnate, the dispute has unleashed an outcry from culture commentators and a lawsuit featuring dueling squads of art experts.
The building’s owner says Picasso’s “Le Tricorne,” a 19-by-20-foot painted stage curtain, has to be moved from the restaurant to make way for repairs to the wall behind it.
But the Landmarks Conservancy, a nonprofit that owns the curtain, is suing to stop the move. The group says the wall damage isn’t dire and taking down the brittle curtain could destroy it — and, with it, an integral aspect of the Four Seasons’ landmarked interior.
“We’re just trying to do our duty and trying to keep a lovely interior landmark intact,” says Peg Breen, president of the conservancy.
The landlord, RFR Holding Corp., a company co-founded by state Council on the Arts Chairman Aby Rosen, says a structural necessity is being spun into an art crusade.
“This case is not about Picasso,” RFR lawyer Andrew Kratenstein said in court papers. Rather, he wrote, it is about whether an art owner can insist that a private landlord hang a work indefinitely, the building’s needs be damned. “The answer to that question is plainly no.” . . . .”