2016-09-23 - Frank Mason Storing Hay Pownal VT

Frank Mason Painting Raffle to Benefit the Preservation of the Historic Salmagundi Club.

2016-09-23 - Frank Mason

Frank Mason in the studio. Courtesy: Karen Winslow/Brushwork Blog.

Ruth Osborne

Our 8th annual James Beck Memorial Lecture was a brilliant gathering of those invested in the making of art and the stewarding of its well being.

We were proud to have this year’s lecture hosted at the Art Students League of New York, an historic institution that has been instrumental and innovative in art education in America since 1875. Michael Daley, Director of ArtWatch UK, shared on the intertwining of the Art Students League and ArtWatch. Our founder Prof. Beck, after whom the annual lectures are named, was connected with artists and students at the League. Most notably, the legendary artist and League instructor Frank Mason, with whom he entered the long campaign against the overrestoration of the Sistine Ceiling. Mason himself had been known to lead protests against overcleaning of important paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is therefore rather fitting to announce that an oil painting by Frank Mason will be raffled off this evening at 6pm at another historic arts organization, the Salmagundi Club downtown. Salmagundi’s Silent Auction is being held to benefit the continued preservation of the landmarked 1850s building on lower 5th Avenue that the Club calls home. The Auction will feature champagne, hor d’oeuvres and music.

You can find more information about tickets for the event here on the Club’s website:

Raffle of Frank Mason Painting

September 23, 20166 to 9 pm — Salmagundi Club, 47 5th Avenue at 12th Street

2016-09-23 - Frank Mason Storing Hay Pownal VT

Frank Mason, Storing Hay, Pownal, Vermont (1959) oil on canvas.

“Storing Hay, Pownal, Vermont” measures 25″ high by 30″ wide and is in a gold metal leaf Florentine style Frame. Painting is signed. It was done by Frank Mason in 1959. Appraised value of painting is $15K.

Anne Mason, widow of Frank and long-time supporter of ArtWatch, says:

Frank would have been happy to know his “Storing Hay, Pownal, Vermont” is part of a fund raising effort to benefit the renovation of the Salmagundi Club. In an era when non-profits are going under, the Salmagundi is alive and well. The raffle is part of a silent auction. On September 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. there will be an evening at the club. Around 8:30 pm there will be a drawing. One lucky winning raffle ticket will be chosen. The winner does not have to be present. BUT think how much fun it would be if you are there for the drawing and WIN!!

2016-08-15 - James Beck 2003

ArtWatch International Presents the 2016 James Beck Memorial Lecture and Reception


2016-08-15 - James Beck Memorial Lecture Pitynski

ArtWatch International, Inc. is pleased to announce our seventh annual James Beck Memorial Lecture. Each year ArtWatch holds an annual James Beck Memorial Lecture and reception to commemorate the scholarly career and the principled stand of its founder, Professor James Beck. The lectures, organized by Michael Daley, the director of ArtWatch UK, provide a platform for distinguished art world speakers in our New York and London campaigning centers.

The 2016 James Beck Memorial Lecture and Reception, N.Y.


Dr. Donald Martin Reynolds

Art Historian and Founder of the Monuments Conservancy in New York


“For Our Freedom and Yours”: The Art and Life of Andrew Pitynski, Portrait of an American Master.


Thursday, September 22nd, 6pm-8pm (with reception)


The Art Students League, 215 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019

RSVP: OR follow this link to the ASL website

On the lecture:

In keeping with the humanistic tradition of such Renaissance masters as Donatello, Leonardo, and Verocchio, Polish sculptor Andrew Pitynski highlights outstanding figures of Poland’s past through to the 20th century “Partisan” movement, in which his family was active. Through Reynolds’ extensive research into the Pitynski family archives and personal interviews with the artist, this lecture will examine the breadth of this sculptor’s charcoal drawings, photographs, and his monumental finished works. Not only is Pitynski’s art rooted in a love for his Slavic heritage, family history, and Polish homeland, but it reaches out to touch upon the universal struggle for freedom and human rights.

2016-09-29 - James Beck Memorial Lecture - Art Students League New York
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ArtWatch International 12th Annual Meeting (Arts Student League of New York)

2016-09-29 - James Beck Memorial Lecture - Art Students League New York

The Art Students League on W. 57th St. in Manhattan

Please join us for our 12th annual meeting,
Wednesday, December 8th at 6:00 PM,
Art Students League,
215 West 57th Street, NYC

Dear ArtWatcher,

It is ironic that more money is raised to finance unnecessary cleanings and the ‘sprucing up’ of famous objects to the absolute neglect of monuments desperately in need of critical intervention and conservation. For more than a year ArtWatch battled the aggressive and pricey cleaning of Michelangelo’s David, located indoors at Florence’s Accademia. When the intervention was proposed, several organizations and celebrities stepped up to contribute large sums of money for the project. Consequently, the Accademia — in order to justify the allocated funds — opted for an excessive cleaning (that is to say, an excessive spending). In the end, they saw to it that the donors got their money’s worth.

Meanwhile, only blocks away from the crowds lining up to see the newly cleaned David, another major monument is literally disintegrating. For years, the roof of Santissima Annunziata has been leaking from rainwater, resulting in calcium deposits that have leached through the architectural trompe-l’oeil decoration of the entire tribune and transept vaults. Despite the need for urgent attention, the Florentine city council has announced that they do not have the funds to make necessary repairs, which would account for a full quarter of their annual budget. This is not a new problem, but one that has been ongoing for many years and had been observed by ArtWatch already in the summer of 2002. There is no mistake that the “David dollars” would have better spent at the Annunziata. Had the matter been addressed in its early phase or as a maintenance issue, then perhaps lesser budgetary allocations could have minimized what is now a serious problem. And this is but one example.

It is all about media and hype. In this respect ArtWatch believes that the flagrant misuse of funds for the cleaning of the David is not unlike the recent purchase by the London National Gallery of the so-called Raphael Madonna of the Pinks. Although there are as many as 48 different versions of the picture, the National Gallery purchased one which has only been known since the 19th century belonging to the Duke of Northumberland. More than half of the record 60 million dollar cost came from tax abatements and public funds, obtained by the National Gallery by pulling the public’s heartstrings and arguing that this work should remain in the country.

Despite all of this, ArtWatch is making a difference. Our effort opposing the cleaning of the David resulted in an intervention that was decidedly less severe than that which had been planned, and thus our campaign must be regarded as a success. Beyond this, there is a lot more art to save.

ArtWatch needs your help. We are unique in our mission since there is no other organization that seeks to protect cultural heritage on this level. This mission can be accomplished, but we need your membership and contributions to carry on the work. Donations can be made by credit card on this website, or by checks mailed to ArtWatch, c/o Prof. James Beck, 826 Schermerhorn, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027.

James Beck

ArtWatch gratefully acknowledges the support of the Bunnelle Charitable Trust, the Dino Olivetti Foundation, Inc., the Peace Foundation, the Charles H. Stout Foundation, the Friends of ArtWatch, and all of our individual donors.