Artists of Toledo

Why did the Museum sell our Cezanne, Matisse and Renoir ion May 17, 2022, and who was the same buyer of two of them? Was it prearranged?

On the beginnings of the Toledo Museum of Art

From the start his ideal was an art museum which should play a social, civic, educational, aesthetic role in the life of the entire community. Art not for art’s sake but for the sake of every man, woman and child in Toledo. No museum existed in the world which George Stevens could use as a pattern. He was the pioneer, the theorist with faith, the dreamer who knew the stars –– but back of that knowledge were science and exactness and patience and skill and perseverance. Today museums of two continents are following the trail he blazed. 

–Regarding George Stevens, Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, 1903 – 1927. Excerpt from A Man and A Dream: The Book of George W. Stevens by Nina Spalding Stevens. See more here.)


donors should stop giving to the Museum
  1. Adam Levine, who became the new director in 2020, also the seventh director of the Toledo Museum of Art in 45 years, indicating that lately, museum directors are not particularly faithful to our venerable institution, diminished our great French Impressionist collection by selling three major paintings for $57 million, amidst the strong objection of the local community, The Blade and the L.A. Times.
  2. The Museum flourished in the Twentieth Century, thanks to the vision of two outstanding long-time directors, George Stevens (24 years) and Otto Wittmann (30 years). But Adam Levine has forsaken this great progressive history to replace it with a canned revisionist history that is politically driven – a new history written by locally-ignorant out-of-towners, embellished by superfluous, unnecessary adjectives.
  3. He disrespects and degrades the Museum’s historic major donors. He bought an actual burnt American flag for the collection with money from deceased donors who fought in World War II. See this post, and this post.
  4. He has excluded our vast community encompassing 17+ counties to focus on an arbitrary two-mile radius of the Museum, seemingly to make cushy government deals and get grants.
  5. He has a grant-driven agenda — if revisionist history is where the money is at, he’s all in. He got a Kress Fellow to recontextualize our paintings for us. Apparently the museum staff cannot do it themselves. Toledoans are not qualified to tell their own story, or even run their own museum. I thought Bowling Green State University offered a Masters in Art History. Read more here.
  6. He has not published an Art Matters museum-membership magazine, which is comprised of listings of exhibitions, interviews with artists, Museum news and a calendar of events, in 10 months.
  7. Members are excluded from museum activities, if there even has been any activity since the day he closed the museum for an entire day on a Friday last October for a private John Legend concert for 40 children – all he could muster up from seven neighborhoods in the targeted two-mile radius of community interest – closing the museum to about 2,000 visitors, the average number of visitors on a Friday, for a concert for only 40 children – filled in with 400 personal friends and members of the press.
  8. Adam Levine has not hung a Museum-worthy show since he became director in 2020.
  9. He’s currently reprising a 2020–2021 exhibition of art conservation, perhaps to launch a campaign to get the public to “adopt” a painting, to pay for their curatorial expenses. This – right after making 57 million dollars from selling our Impressionist paintings! When the world has so many hungry orphans that are much more worthy to adopt than an inanimate object, and the comparison of the aging process of a human to a painting (discoloring, cracking, fading, flaking off) is insulting to the dignity of the museum donor, you have to wonder what Adam Levine is really saying. 
  10. He does nothing for the local artist community, after having promised us a local art gallery 16 months ago, memorialized in a big story published in The Blade, complete with a photo of Adam Levine with the Mayor of Toledo and the donors, Mr. & Mrs. Savage, posed in the apparent gallery space – what happened – where is our gallery? Nobody knows. The new Director of Belonging and Community Engagement along with the new department is really only there for the community within the two-mile radius.
  11. He hired a consulting curator of ancient art, Carlos Picón, who is the director of the Colnaghi ancient art gallery in New York, in spite of the obvious conflict of interest. How shocking!
  12. He wants to make a national impression. That he is, by ruining a perfectly wonderful art museum that was famous for not only its outstanding collection, but also for its education, inclusion, and community involvement. Read on…..
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