Categories
Artists of Toledo

TMA’s disgraceful national review

Wow! Read this: Toledo Museum: A Treasure Trove of the Best – But chasing the diversity, equity, and belonging unicorn, it might derail itself 
And this:  Toledo Is Great on Glass but Disses American History – Its glass collection is superbly presented, but American art is trashed as ‘white supremacist’

The Toledo Museum of Art is getting national attention — but not in a good way. Unfortunately the unflattering critique by art critic, Brian T. Allen in the National Review is right-on. The museum is using its stellar collection to promote a trite, tired and divisive political point of view, reducing great art to the level of mere illustration, targeting the lowest common denominator. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

It’s missing a few points though…. like perhaps the museum has gone all out with their inclusion theme as a smokescreen to cover the bigger picture. They want us to look over here at their diversity theme and not follow the money. Like the questionable sudden selling of the museum’s three great Impressionist paintings for over 61 million dollars and starting a whole new unrestricted fund with it. Taking from Edward Drummond Libbey’s bequest and defying his rules. And who exactly bought TWO of these paintings? Hopefully the Ohio Attorney General, in their current investigation of the Libbey Endowment Trust funds, will uncover it all.

The mayor is a dope

Toledo’s mayor, in a dollop of snark and a show of ignorance, said the museum catered to “Florence Libbey types,” which means a high-society dame, the kind who wear a tiara to weed the orchid patch. It’s safe to say he’s a dope. The museum’s not a colony of the country club. It has cultivated a broad-based appeal and affection. And a mayor shouldn’t trash the thing that adds the most class and cachet to his city. Toledo, after all, isn’t the Paris of Ohio. – Brian T. Allen, Toledo Museum: A Treasure Trove of the Best, National Review

Yes, the mayor of Toledo, Wade Kapszukiewicz, is a dope. And it is safe to presume that this line of thinking was fed to him by the museum’s newly appointed “Brand” department and manager — a man who lives in Colorado! Once you trash the beginnings of the museum, and the Libbeys, and the museum’s history — a museum built by progressive founders who gave the gift of the museum to all of the people of Toledo — the exact opposite of the image that the mayor of Toledo is promoting — it’s easy enough to trash the art inside of it and whisk it away.

As they destroy the museum’s legacy, they can easily sell off the museum’s masterpieces. If they can get away with secretly selling valuable paintings that were purchased with funds from the Edward Drummond Libbey Endowment, a publicly scrutinized trust fund, and move those assets into a secret private fund, or who knows what they do because the public no longer has access, they set a precedent and can keep doing it until the museum has no resemblance to the intentions of the founders.

If they were not going to buy art right away with the proceeds (as per the wishes of the Libbey trust) then why didn’t they simply put it back in the Edward Drummond Libbey Endowment Fund? I’ve read Libbey’s will in regard to the trust and there is absolutely nothing in it that would stop them from putting the money back into the endowment fund.

The wills of the Libbeys make it very easy for the Trustees to do what they think is best — but of course that freedom is predicated on the Trustees’ fiduciary duty. The Trustees are legally required to do their best to act in Libbeys’ stead, but it appears that they are breaching that trust. And they are dwindling the endowment away (check it out for yourself at the Lucas County courthouse — it’s public information) while the museum builds up a private fund. Is there a conflict of interest? Some of the same Trustees of the Libbey Trust are on the Board of Directors of the museum.

While they, to quote the article, cater relentlessly to Toledans living within a two-mile radius of the museum” and drag people from their homes to raise that percentage for what is, after all, an ego trip” (but never answer the emails of community members or respond to open letters on blogs, being the hypocrites they really are) they are actually stealing from the people of Toledo.

This happens because the mayor of Toledo, city council, museum board members, donors, members, etc., play along with them (after all, they go to the same parties and have the same lawyers) and they are all such dopes.

Categories
Artists of Toledo

Adam Levine’s Toledo Museum of Art

An assessment of the offerings at
Adam Levine’s Toledo Museum of Art
two years into the five-year plan

In 2021, Adam Levine, the new director of the Toledo Museum of Art, announced that he was increasing the museum’s annual budget by $2 million while reducing the draw from the Libbey Endowment. The rules of the Libbey Endowment are such that the money must be used in whole or in part for the exhibition of art, with at least 50% of every dollar spent on the purchase of works of art for the purpose of public exhibition. To draw less from the Libbey Endowment means they are free to do what ever they want. They don’t need to buy art or have great shows anymore.

Just as we had been warned, the shows since then have been sparse and less spectacular. We’ve had Matt Wedel, regional mid-career ceramicist, and his “Phenomenal Debris” filling up the Levis Gallery Nov. 5, 2022 — Apr. 2, 2023, which, as the name suggests, was a real departure for the Toledo Museum of Art, and not in a good way. Meanwhile in the Canaday Gallery, in a redo of a show from two years ago, they decked out the Canaday with artwork in need of repair and solicited donations for the restorations, for the privilege of the donor’s name being briefly associated with the “adopted artwork.” The piece used in the promotion was a 1925 glass dress, representing Libbey himself, ironically, to raise money for restoration instead of using the museum and Libbey’s money to restore the dress. So tacky of them. The show was up an extra-long time, from Sept 24, 2022 to Feb. 5, 2023.  Now they give us a show about astrology and fortune-telling curated by the two new Brian P. Kennedy Leadership Fellows (formerly known as Mellon Fellows) who drew from the museum’s own collection. Feb. 3, 2023 — Jun. 18, 2023, because that is just what they think we like, after we endured the Supernatural traveling show in 2021.

Meanwhile, as evidenced by features in the sporadically published Art Matters Magazine and nearly every press release Levine manages to put out, they go on and on about their curatorial work writing wall text and rearranging galleries, as if they are preparing us for a terrible fright. Lately, they have been moving art around in the American galleries so that the artworks will talk to each other and tell us the TRUE meaning of being an American. Because, as they tell us, being an American changes all the time, and you need to listen to the paintings, look closely and see how they interact. Do they like each other? Can they get along? If you still don’t get it, read the wall text.

But coming to Toledo this summer just in time for Juneteenth is the enthusiastically inspired traveling show called Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, June 3 – Sept. 3. It is co-curated by Brooklyn Museum’s young up-and-comer Kimberli Gant, who wrote an accompanying book about the Black American artist (1917–2000) and the 1960’s Nigerian art scene. Read about Jacob Lawerence here on this unrelated time-capsule of a website from the Whitney Museum in 2002, too good not to share.

It is interesting that it is Kimberli Gant’s family who originally owned the burnt miniature American flag piece that the museum acquired last year, purchased with funds from the bequests “by exchange” of dead patrons who happened to have been veterans who fought under the American flag in World War II. Would these Toledo veterans have approved of their money being used to buy a burnt flag? I bet it would break their hearts. The burnt American flag to-date has not been displayed to the public. But the wall text has been written – with great enthusiasm.

Will the museum be showing the burnt American flag piece? Or is it reserved for their “programs,” as the museum’s curator of contemporary art mentioned on Instagram? It must be exciting for the underpaid “contracted” museum teachers (mostly women who are not given health insurance) to pull out this 8×10 burnt American flag painting mounted on a 4-ply museum board and use it to inspire both young and old people at the “outside the museum walls” art-making spaces in federally funded low-income housing projects.

The art-making spaces are funded by a local manufacturer of fiberglas insulation and roofing materials, Owens Corning, and the program is run by the Toledo Museum of Art. Since the museum no longer has their long-time Children’s Saturday classes that took place in the basement of the museum, in a school aptly named The Toledo Museum of Art School of Design, bringing together 2,500 children from all over the city of Toledo every Saturday during the school year, not to mention the many hundreds of adults it served during the week, and now the halls are empty, Adam Levine likes to boast that they have burst “outside their walls” with this new program that serves 18,000 people in housing developments within a 2-mile radius of the museum. Whether the residents want it or need it or like it or not. Everyone else in the city is out of luck because most of their efforts are funneled into the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, the President and CEO of which, Joaquin Cintron Vega, happens to be a new museum board member, along with Brian Chambers, the CEO of Owens Corning who is also on the board, sitting pretty.

And speaking of Nigerian art, I wonder if the Toledo Museum of Art will be returning their looted Benin Bronze, or are they waiting out the storm, keeping it hidden while conscientious museums across the country are returning their looted art to Africa? Adam Levine must have figured that sooner or later the reports of returned looted art will be old news and used to wrap fish.

If we can only be patient, coming next year will be a show curated by the recently retired Toledo Museum Curator of European Art, Larry Nichols.

It was good timing that Larry Nichols retired right before the $59.7 million sale of the three French Impressionist paintings, two of which were sold to one buyer under suspicious circumstances. And now he’s back on a freelance basis, with a real show to help out the museum since they have not been able to come up with a good one on their own after hiring countless curators. (It’s not that they can’t, they just haven’t wanted to.) There will be a show with not just one, or two, or three, but four Caravaggios, and they will be conversing with the wanna-be Caravaggios in the museum’s collection. How exciting! Put it on your calendar — Jan. 20 – April 14, 2024. I can’t wait!

I’m glad the museum could give our venerable old art curator an outlet during his retirement. Somehow Larry Nichols managed to persuade four museums to trust the Toledo Museum of Art, to get the museums to loan to Toledo their valuable paintings. What a lucky break after the Toledo Museum of Art reneged on their promise to loan our Cezanne Avenue at Chantilly to the Art Institute of Chicago for their major Cezanne exhibition, which opened two days before our museum sold at Sotheby’s our valuable Cezanne painting, The Glade to a secret buyer for $41.7 million, the same mysterious person also buying Henri Matisse’s Fleurs ou Fleurs devant un portrait for $15.3 million. (See page in the show’s catalog, Cezanne, that was printed right before the show.)

What was the hurry to sell our paintings? Was our collection used as a catalog by a collector who made an offer that had a time limit that made Adam Levine betray his commitment to the Art Institute of Chicago? How could Adam Levine have sold our Cezanne right out from under these circumstances and break a promise to an esteemed museum? It hurt the exhibition, it hurt the public, it hurt the historic record, it hurt our institution – it hurt everyone. It is his fiduciary duty to be a good steward and to honor the reputation and legacy of the museum.

The money from the sale of the French Impressionist paintings, the Cezanne and Matisse that came from the Libbey Endowment and the Renoir that came from Mrs. McKelvy’s French Impressionist collection, should have been spent immediately on art, or else it should have gone back in the respective endowments. But instead they started an entirely new financial instrument with the proceeds of the art, making a lot of money for the bankers.

I wonder what the $2 million per year increase in the museum’s annual budget is going toward? They hired two people to be in charge of “People” and “Belonging” (a Chief People Officer and the other is the Director of Belonging.) The shows, as noted above, have been bare minimal offerings. They’ve reduced their public education to a skeletal existence. They closed the museum on Tuesday as well as Monday (except for MLK Day, a new tradition), so it is now only open five days a week. They raised their parking fee by 45%, right after they sold the museum’s three famous French Impressionist paintings. There are huge gaps in acquisition numbers for the art acquired in 2022, keeping the public from finding out what they are buying. This, after they made such a big deal about what they were going to buy. As it is a public institution formed to exhibit art to the public – the public has a right to know.

Why did the museum hire a curator of ancient art, Carlos Picon, the director of the Colnaghi art gallery in New York, who is an ancient art dealer? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Do the objects being bought now really speak to the museum’s so-called mission of collecting art that looks like us and are they filling in cultural gaps and expanding the narrative of art history? Or is it the same old fluffy stuff?

Adam Levine said in his 2022 Forbes interview for a feature story on beauty without bias, “The superpower that an art museum has is when something goes up on the wall, it’s considered good. We set the canon.” They’ve got the power, and they can do whatever they want with it.

In June 2021, the museum announced that a new gallery was being renovated that would be exclusively for solo shows of local artists. Then there was dead silence about it. It never materialized. After a year and no gallery, the donor himself, Bob Savage, told me that it was delayed because the museum couldn’t decide what to do. That’s how much they regard the local artist community, as if we do not “belong” or fit into their community/people/belonging plan. Then last week, on February 23, very quietly, the Ninth Congressional District Invitational Art Competition high school art show opened the new gallery. No announcement of the gallery or the event was made to the public or to the artists of Toledo, but Congressman Marcy Kaptur was at the event thanking the donors, Sue and Bob Savage.

I remember writing to the museum board two years ago when their five-year plan was published in The Blade (see the first Blade article on this post). I wrote in response to the renewed community focus, and could they please bring back our 100-year old Toledo Area Artists Exhibition? The response was favorable and and Randy Oostra, the CEO arranged for me to have a meeting with Adam Levine, which took place two months later. That day, ready to give my spiel, Adam Levine surprised me with news that he said I would be the first outside of the museum to know – that they were renovating a gallery specifically for solo shows for local artists. One month later The Blade featured a news story (see above) a with a photo of Adam Levine, the donors that will pay for the renovation, and the mayor of Toledo. Then not a word was ever spoken or written about it, not on their website nor in social media, nor in their members magazine, then one mention, occurring in The Blade one year later in regard to the art making spaces in the federal housing projects, that those new art-makers may have a show at the museum gallery. Finally, nearly two years later, the gallery that was promised to professional local artists opened with a show for high school students. I feel sorry for those young artists because when they grow up, they will get no support from the museum, unless they live in the projects.

When the museum talks about community, local artists are not included. The art museum makes their own artists now.

We must trust them and believe they have our best interests at heart, Leslie Adams assured us in 2014. The former president of the Toledo Federation of Art Societies got a one-person show from the museum in 2013 as the first, and as it turned out, the only, biennial solo show prize winner ever. Other TFAS former presidents and museum insiders were also rewarded when the museum corruptly abruptly canceled our prestigious Toledo Area Artists Exhibition that we had had for nearly 100 years.

It is a tragedy for the community that the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition was ended. For nearly a century, it helped countless artists achieve their goals, including three generations of my family. Check out the significance of the show by looking at the bios, clippings and obituaries of the many historic Artists of Toledo on this website. The shows played a prominent role in the careers of nearly every successful artist in Toledo. The demise of this annual show hurts our very DNA.

Brian P. Kennedy, director from 2011 to 2019, is oddly honored. The Mellon Fellow title has been renamed to “Brian P. Kennedy Leadership Fellow.” It’s too bad that one of the first two Mellon Fellows hired by Kennedy (Halona Norton-Westbrook) was involved in the corruption of the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition in 2014. It gave the Mellon Fellowship a bad name. But with the new name, what kind of role model for leadership is Brian Kennedy after he resigned from the Toledo museum just 18 months before the end of his 10-year contract to go to the Peabody Essex Museum, then he quit that museum after only 17 months? Of his leaving the PEM, Kennedy said:

After thirty years in museum leadership on three continents, this current unprecedented period of racial, social, economic and political turmoil has given cause for serious thinking and new perspectives on the profound changes that are happening in our world and I have decided to pursue a new challenge.

Which is extremely weird.

His departure caused a great deal of damage to the Toledo Museum of Art in 2019, because the museum was not prepared with an heir apparent. It led to the unfortunate situation we are in today. The board members ended up hiring the museum’s other Mellon Fellow hired by Kennedy – Adam Levine – who had left Toledo, but then came back for this. But after just a couple of years and this track record, what is going on?

The museum has traded connoisseurship for money and politics. Art can be political, but a public art museum cannot be, because that would be divisive and polarizing. The Toledo Museum of Art was built on the principle of community.

In summary, our museum was built with wide open doors inviting everybody to walk through them. Before it was reduced to a bare minimum, the museum had the best educational system of any museum in the country, serving every person in the entire city who had a desire to learn about art. It was the hub of a robust local artist community that for many years had monthly local shows, and for 95 years had the prestigious annual juried show for local and regional artists. Not to mention the great art collection.

The art collected by the museum was chosen by art connoisseurs for its quality and encyclopedic representation of the world, as opposed to now, where it is chosen to serve a political agenda or fill a quota. From early-on and throughout the past century, our museum had been highly respected and drew great leaders such as Otto Wittmann and Adam Weinberg. The museum always had many shows going on at once and events of public interest. They published newsletters, catalogs and magazines keeping the public informed of all their goings on.

The museum’s mission was to educate and exhibit art to the public.

Today the mission seems quite vapid. That is, to get other museums to notice us and want to be like us. “THE MUSEUM SEEKS TO BECOME THE MODEL ART MUSEUM IN THE UNITED STATES FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO QUALITY AND ITS CULTURE OF BELONGING.” Yet how do we look to other museums when promises are broken? It is hypocritical to appear so “woke” while holding on to a Benin bronze looted art, not exhibiting it, not sending it back to Nigeria, and not a word about it one way or another. Their mission statement reveals their emptiness and hypocrisy, just like their new ad slogan “Art brings Toledo together,” when it’s doing quite the opposite.

The museum should be serving all the people who live here. Local artists matter. Our museum should not be used as a social experiment or as a stepping stone for the director’s next career move. But then it all seems like a smokescreen while they sell our valuable and beloved paintings, and who is profiting from that? Just look at everything that is at stake – artwork that is worth billions collected over 120 years.

With their two million dollar increase in the annual budget for the past two years, they have so much less to show for it.

It’s OUR museum. Where is the oversight?

Who gave them the right to take away the fundamental qualities of our museum, sell our art, demean our founders, kill our local traditions, invade our museum, live off our stellar reputation like blood-sucking vampires, and take our museum in a new direction all their own? Who are these people?

Categories
Artists of Toledo

Put the Rebel Flag in the Museum

Why a burnt American flag is all wrong for the Toledo Museum of Art

Beauty without bias?
Quality does not discriminate?

In what universe does a burnt American flag qualify as quality? How does it not discriminate? in whose eyes is it beautiful? Is it not biased against our country and most of the citizens?

My letter to the editor of The Blade

Re: Toledo Museum of Art announces 27 new acquisitions

Dear Editor,

Concerning your article about the museum’s new acquisitions – the museum recently sold our magnificent three French Impressionist paintings from our esteemed collection for 57 million dollars to buy new diverse art, and one of the first paintings that they bought is a portrait that has a burnt American flag as a background.

 There are a lot of people in the Toledo area who are patriotic and love our country, including many veterans who fought in wars defending our country, including the Civil War, who would not like to see a painting of a burnt American flag in our great Toledo Museum of Art. My great great grandfather was a French immigrant who joined the Union Army and fought and was wounded in the Civil War because he wanted to do his part to help free the slaves.

If the museum thinks that a burnt flag painting is going to enhance The Toledo Museum’s new “sense of belonging” and “tell the story of the Toledo community” and enhance our “sense of inclusion,” they have sadly only achieved offending most of the Toledo community. 

 If this new burnt flag painting is the TMA’s idea of telling the Toledo story, in their “new transformative Toledo Museum,” that supposedly strives to be a reflection of our community, they are wrong and can count me and a lot of Toledoans out.

Penny Gentieu

About my great great grandfather
who fought in the Civil War
and the meaning of the American flag

Toledo Museum of Art – how about a little gratitude for the 360,222+ including 36,000 black Union soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War to free the slaves? My great great grandfather’s life was forever after consumed by the horror of the Civil War that he fought in. It became a part of him. Hence, it is a genetic part of me. I can’t help but be offended by the image of a burnt American flag. It is the opposite of beautiful. I can’t accept that my Toledo Museum of Art is advocating the destruction of my country, which my immigrant ancestor came to with so much hope, fighting for this country while not even being a citizen, and starting the Gentieu family here.

Pierre Gentieu was interviewed about the Civil War at age 87 in 1929: 

In 1929, a reunion proposed for Union and Confederate soldiers was dismissed by the Grand Army of the Republic, because Union soldiers did not like it that the veteran Confederates still used their old flag in public ceremonies, whereas the Union veterans thought that the flag should be abolished.

“Put the rebel flag in a museum,” said my great great grandfather Pierre Gentieu, the Commander of the Smyth Post No. 1, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Delaware.

Pierre said that all veterans, North and South, are brothers. “A good many are bitter against the reunion but I am not. We are all for the Union now – we are all brothers, and must consider our relationship in this light. It is of no use to fight now, and we must forget the bitterness of the past.”

“You must actually fight under a flag to learn to love it and respect it. You don’t know what it means to see it waving in the smoke of battle, representing the ideal for which you fight. Why, it is the soul of the regiment. I will never forget it.”

“I remember one particularly bitter battle to which we were advancing as reinforcements. We had been marching steady for a long time and were rather tired. And suddenly we came upon the scene. Not far away the battle was in full progress… people were killing each other mercilessly… and suddenly, through the thick smoke… just over the hill… we saw the flag! We knew that we were supposed to plunge right in and fight – with death, and yet, we forgot all about that and with a cry we were right in the midst of everything!”

“I don’t blame the Grays a bit for wanting to preserve their flags, and I believe in a reunion with them. But their flag should not be used in public. I’m absolutely opposed to that! The rebel flag should be preserved in a museum as a relic of the old days. That is the only place for it.”

My message to the new Curator of American Art at the Toledo Museum of Art

Dear Erin Corrales-Diaz,
A burnt American flag is not a good addition to the Toledo Museum of Art. How could you let that painting through? Didn’t you write your dissertation on the Civil War, and all wounded soldiers in it, and the art that came from that? Don’t you know that the subjects of your dissertation had blood pumping through them? They were fighting under that flag — the American flag. Unless your main focus was the injured soldiers of the Confederacy –– how can you be supportive and approve the acquisition of the painting of the smirking cartoon-like black portrait pasted on a burnt American flag?
We sell our Cézanne, Matisse and Renoir so that you, as the Curator of American Art, along with the other curators/art committee/director/board of directors, all so very collaboratively can have a field day collecting really offensive, junky art!
You don’t know our community. I can tell you that this painting does NOT reflect our community. Do you live in Toledo?

Museum diversity today

Toledoans are told that the museum wants to better reflect our community and they are buying art so that the community can see themselves on the walls.

Kerry James Marshall is a great artist who makes beautiful large paintings that would speak to our community, but this painting, unlike any other of his paintings, says the wrong thing. It’s totally off-brand.

Toledo is experiencing a record-breaking spike in gun murders and violence, and much of it is gang related. This painting exploits negative stereotypes of African Americans. The purchase of it for the walls of our great museum flames the fire of destruction, exploiting our community even further. The museum plans to use it for programming – the museum will run programs around it?

Our museum is known for having only the best examples of an artist’s work — we were told they sold our Cézanne, Renoir and Matisse because they had another painting of each artist that was voted by the board to be better. What a shame that our museum bought this painting to represent this artist instead of a painting that the artist intended to be on a museum wall – it’s not like the museum didn’t have the money – they cleared $57 million from the impressionist paintings to be spent on new art. – But they have yet to spend any of that money.

What did the museum pay?

The burnt flag painting was advertised on an Artsy catalog page for Lusenhop Fine Art at this year’s EXPO Chicago 2022, along with other works of Kerry James Marshall on the gallery’s EXPO Chicago 2022 page, and the highest price shown for any of them (except for two sold, which were not marked) is $55,000. According to the news story, the museum bought it from Phillip Gant, “a prominent Chicago-based collector.” He is the father of Kimberli Gant, the new Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art . (The Brooklyn Museum does not have a Kerry James Marshall painting in their collection, and I can only assume that they passed on this one.)

The Toledo Museum of Art must have paid a fortune, because the museum drew from four art acquisition funds to purchase it:

Jamar Art Fund of Marvin and Lenore Kobacker  In 1970, Marvin and Lenore paid for a 17th-century furnished room from a French chateau, which was installed in the museum. The room was deinstalled around 2017. The money from the Kobacker art fund was then used for a Larry Poons painting, a glass and mixed media piece by Amber Cowan, and this burnt American flag. I’m not sure the Kobackers would like that. Before they were married, they both served their country under the American flag during World War II, which was a war that fought global superpowers on two fronts. We helped defeat the Nazis. Lenore Kobacker was in the WAVES and Marvin Kobacker was a lieutenant in the Navy. Lenore died in 1991 and Marvin died in 1993.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Barber Art Fund  Mr. Barber served in the Amy Air Corps during World War II fighting against Nazi takeover. He was the president of the Perrysburg Township Republican Club in the 1960’s, and the Wood County Republican Party chairman. He spearheaded the reconstruction of Fort Meigs, a United States stronghold during the War of 1812. He was a great supporter of Delbert Latta, who was the representative for the 5th congressional district for 30 years, and the father of the current 5th congressional district representative. The Barbers endowed the Early American Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art. Mrs. Barber died in 1994 and Mr. Barber died in 1999.

Mrs. George W. Stevens Fund  Nina Spalding Stevens, along with her husband, George Stevens, ran the museum from 1902 until he died in 1926. She died in Paris in 1959.

Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott  Florence Libbey was one of the founding benefactors of the museum, and this endowment, second in size only to Edward Drummond Libbey’s endowment fund, pays for perhaps $400,000 worth of new art every year. in 1931 early in the Depression she put many Toledoans to work building the additional wings to the museum, including the Peristyle. Her father, Maurice Scott, once owned the land upon which the museum sits. Florence died in 1938, Edward died in 1925 and Maurice died in 1905.


A memorial service was held in the Peristyle for Mary Wolfe, a major donor to the Toledo Museum of Art, on November 30, 2014. The front several rows in the audience were filled with Toledo philanthropists. Mary Wolfe looked out at us from the screen.

I wonder how the dead donors would feel, and how their descendants feel, to see their philanthropy used to buy a burnt American flag for the Toledo Museum of Art. This painting is an extremely dishonorable way to remember them by.  Three of the donors served their country – our country, in World War II that defeated the Nazis. Can you imagine how the world would be today if we didn’t win? If burnt American flags were all the rage? If loving your country was declasse? The other two donors were founders of our great museum.

What happened to Toledoans running their own museum? Why are we letting outsiders take control and treat us like a political anthropology project?  Is it the beginning of the end for our great Toledo Museum of Art? Should we picket outside the museum to save the museum?

“The superpower that an art museum has is when something goes up on the wall, it’s considered good. We set the canon,” Levine said. “By displaying these artworks, we not only center them in the narrative of American art history and art history in general, but by acquiring them, we demonstrate that they are of superlative quality, on par with everything else in this museum. This is an opportunity for us to recognize the value of artists who haven’t been given the opportunity historically to be showcased at institutions like ours.”  – Adam Levine, ‘Beauty Without Bias’ At The Toledo Museum Of Art, Forbes, February 28, 2022

How much did our museum pay for this painting that they plan to build programs around?

What other anti-American, radical attention-getting antics will the Toledo Museum of Art pull at the expense of our community?

Who was the secret buyer of our Cézanne and Matisse? Was the sale pre-arranged? Why didn’t that money go back in the Libbey Endowment Fund or else why wasn’t it spent on new art? More questions…