As we stated in our post yesterday, a number of paintings were removed from the hotel on Wednesday, July 20, reportedly thrown carelessly into the back of a van and taken to an unknown location. An artist who saw her painting being removed was able to rescue it as it was being carried out. She reported that the paintings were being taken from Stanley’s office, which has been used for storage since our illustrious proprietor’s ouster in June 2007. Now we have received credible reports that all the work that was in the tourist rooms has also been removed.
One significant casualty is a painting by the artist Alpheous Philemon Cole that hung behind the desk for many years until it was removed sometime during the tenure of the new management and put into storage. Cole, born in 1876, moved into the Chelsea at the age of 81, and lived here for 35 years until his death in 1988, at the time the world’s oldest living man at the astounding age of 112! (Whenever anbody asked Stanley Bard about all of the tragic deaths that had taken place at the Hotel he would invaribly deflect the question by citing the case of Alpheous Cole, the world's oldest living man, as more representative of the Chelsea Hotel experience. Below is Claudio Edinger’s portrait of Cole, which was taken a few years before the painter’s death.) Cole’s painting was spotted being heaved into the van along with the others. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a photo of the painting, reportedly a portrait of a young man. Our readers could be of help here: if you have a photo or any information about the painting, or other paintings that you think may have been removed, please let us know. Your help will be greatly appreciated.
We have a few lingering questions. Was management authorized to remove these paintings? Were the artists contacted? Where are the paintings being stored, and are they being stored properly? Will artists who fear their work was among the paintings removed be allowed to visit the site to reclaim it? Not all of the paintings hanging on the walls of the rooms were owned by the hotel, as evidenced by the artist who rescued hers. Many had merely loaned their work to the hotel. At the very least, management needs to provide a list of the works that were removed from the hotel. -- Ed Hamilton
(Photo Source: Photo by Claludio Edinger.)