1. Evicted Art: several resident artists removed their canvasses after they were evicted.
2. Trashed Art: at least two significant art works were discovered in the trash on 23rd Street: a framed sketch of Arthur Miller by the artist Rene Shapshack; and a painting by a resident artist that once graced Stanley Bard’s office (the latter reportedly worth about $10,000).
3. Stolen Art: paintings by two deceased artists, Herbert Gentry and Arthur Weinstein, have been reported stolen by their widows. Gentry is a world-renowned artist, and his painting was worth upwards of $50,000.
4. Mystery Art: several canvasses have disappeared with no trace, including two by the Japanese Artist Hiroya, one a large collaborative canvas that was very popular with tourists, the other a Dee Dee Ramone tribute.
5. Sold Art: the reclining nude by Akbar Padamsee that had long hung above the door to the lobby (see photo of lobby above), and that disappeared in late 2010, has recently resurfaced. Turns out it was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in March to an unnamed collector—for a whopping $1.4 million!
Padamsee’s canvas was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Montreal in 1960, and, according to Sotheby’s catalog, entered a “private collection” shortly thereafter. Though it is not specified in the catalog, that would presumably be the collection of Stanley Bard, ousted manager of the Chelsea Hotel.
We are also very concerned as to the fate of two angular canvases by the Australian artist Brett Whiteley, (seen above the desk in 2008 and in 2010 in the photos) whose work has recently been commanding prices in the millions of dollars. The last time we caught a glimpse of these paintings, they were stacked against a wall in Stanley’s office; but now, according to an anonymous tipster, several paintings were observed being carted out of the hotel last Wednesday and taken away in a van. Probably we will see them up for sale at Christie’s soon enough.
For now, residents are left to stare forlornly at blank spaces on the discolored walls of our lobby and stairwell as we mourn the looting of our proud artistic tradition. At the very least, part of that $1.4 million windfall should be used to compensate the widows whose husband’s stolen paintings formed an integral part of that tradition.