By Carter B. Horsley
The City Review's article
on a major donor of Chinese paintings maintaining that the newly
reinstalled Chinese Paintings galleries at the Metropolitan Museum
had violated his contract
was picked up by Page Six of The New York Post June 3,
It was the second time within
four days that the famous gossip column had reported on exclusive
stories first disclosed in The City Review. On May 31,
1997, the lead article
of Page Six of The New York Post carried the headline, "Questions
over new Met artwork," which
referred to a group of stories (Chinagate, Chinagate
Update, and edited New York Times story) in The City Review that focus
on the Chinese Paintings department of the museum that recently
received the promise
of a gift of 11 paintings from the collection of C. C. Wang, a New York painter and collector
who had sold the museum 25 other paintings in 1973. See
also The New Yorker
magazine quotes expert with serious doubts about centerpiece of
recent Tang gift, doubts that were first raised in The City Review,
and discloses that C.C. Wang plans to auction 40 works at Sotheby's
where his grandson is the "resident Chinese-painting expert."
The new Page Six article confirmed
many of the details of the article in The City Review,
while adding a comment from the museum that it believed it has
"honored" its commitment to the donor.
The New York Post Page Six June 3, 1977 article is printed
below in full.
One of the guests of honor
at the Metropolitan Museum's May 19 fete celebrating the opening
of the new Chinese galleries angrily stormed out of the Temple
of Dendur before dinner was served. And that's not all. Robert
H. Ellsworth says he may want his paintings back, too. Ellsworth,
a prominent author and collector who has given the Met a collection
of Chinese paintings valued at more than $10 million, was one
of eight dignitaries being honored that night. (Brooke Astor
and the Douglas Dillons were among the others.) But when
Ellsworth saw his paintings, he was shocked. "They cut all
the space back and they didn't live up to their contract,"
he told Page Six. He said the Met had put up a bronze plaque with
his name on it, but that it hadn't lived up to an agreement to
devote 840 feet to a rotating show of the 19th & 20th Century
works he had donated, giving them just 600 feet. Ellsworth told
Carter Horsley, editor of the Internet magazine The City
Review, that he's waited ten years to get his paintings hung.
If the Met won't give them the proper space, he said, it should
return them. "My lawyer is going to handle it," Ellsworth
said, adding he is waiting for Met director Philippe De Montebello
to return from England to resolve the dispute. But it's highly
unusual for a donor to ask to have his donations returned, and
the Met may not just let the masterworks go. "The museum
is deeply grateful to Mr. Ellsworth for his years of generosity,"
Met spokesman Harold Holzer said, "but we believe
we have honored all of our commitments" to him.