Hypocrisy and the Lucas CollectionIn his May 14 letter to...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 11, 1995

Hypocrisy and the Lucas Collection

In his May 14 letter to The Sun concerning the Maryland Institute College of Art's ownership of the Lucas collection, Kenneth A. Willaman asks the core question.

After the many years our museums have spent cataloging and lovingly conserving works of art, can citizens expect those same works to be found on the auction block at Sotheby's?

The answer is a resounding "Yes."

The records of both the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery reflect this.

One need only to review the December 12-13, 1991 Antiques and Islamic Art catalog of Sotheby's to find precious antiquities from Henry Walters' prized Massarenti Collection, articles that formed Walters' own original bequest, for examples of Baltimore's patrimony recently sold to the highest bidder.

The BMA will frequently prune a painting or two from a collection to provide funds for other purchases in keeping with the museum's commitment to the citizens of Baltimore to provide a broad, comprehensive, fine collection of art.

The new wing of the BMA is stocked, even as I write, with valuable, unique paintings and sculpture on loan.

These works will no doubt be carefully conserved and secured during the loan period at public expense in exchange for the privilege of the loan until the works are returned. The concept of requiring payment from the owner of a loaned piece of art by a museum is ludicrous.

George Lucas and Henry Walters were well regarded, successful businessmen who well knew how to create contracts to fulfill their wishes and to bind those with whom they did business.

Neither of these gentlemen ever indicated in their copious writings that their intention was to have the collection remain in perpetuity either at the college or in Baltimore. Why are ill-informed parties continuously stating otherwise?

Henry Walters in particular knew how to devise art to the citizens of Baltimore, and he did so. And yet, having taken title to the Lucas collection he forwarded it to the Maryland Institute without ever bothering to look it over, or to indicate the gift was restricted in any way.

Indignation over the Maryland Institute's decision to sell the Lucas collection rings hollow. Just as the BMA and the Walters review their assets, selling from time to time a favorite painting in pursuit of their larger mission, so does this living, vibrant, well regarded college of art.

The institute's board and volunteers have been quite skillful in fund-raising, but the endowment is less than one-fifth that of other well regarded colleges of art.

Its mission is to produce painters of paintings, printers of prints, and, yes, designers of magazines, videos, CD-ROM and film. All Marylanders can take pride in the performance of the Maryland Institute and its students.

The Maryland Institute is not a museum; its case for selling the Lucas Collection is compelling. Those who moralize tempt hypocrisy.

Charles M. Solomon

Baltimore

Bring Back Puzzle

I feel your decision to eliminate the crossword puzzle in The Sun Magazine is unfair to us crossword puzzle fanatics.

Much of my enjoyment of the Sunday edition of The Sun was knowing I had three crossword puzzles to occupy my Sunday morning.

In addition to losing one of my beloved puzzles, the placement of the New York Times crossword puzzle in the center of the page makes it almost impossible to fold the paper in such a way that the puzzle can be worked minus creases and bumps under an otherwise smooth surface.

Why not move the book reviews to the Arts and Entertainment section and give us back our other puzzle?

Karran O'Connor Chaney

Baltimore

Why are the crossword puzzles taking a back seat for book reviews? Can't you just add another section for the books and leave the puzzles there for your readers who enjoy them so?

This is not the first time you "picked" on the puzzles. Please bring back the puzzles I have for so many years enjoyed solving.

Jane H. Wampler

Baltimore

Jay's Politics

Notwithstanding the tongue-in-cheek aspect of Peter Jay's May 18 column, I am angered by it.

I am angered because it is written by a conservative Republican. Conservatism is a partial cause of some of the inequities we find in the O. J. Simpson story. Furthermore, if the "Contract with America" becomes law, Mr. Simpson will be even better off.

Mr. Jay notes that Mr. Simpson cannot be prosecuted in federal court for the murder. He is right. Why can't he be? Because there is no federal law against domestic violence.

The liberal Democrats that Mr. Jay loves to hate (for this liberal Democrat, it is quite mutual) have been trying for sometime to pass such a law.

Moreover, even if we had passed such a law, the Supreme Court may well have declared it unconstitutional, thanks to 12 years of very conservative appointments.

Secondly, the system will not be through with Mr. Simpson should he be acquitted. His potential liability in civil suits is tremendous. His two children, Nicole Simpson's family and Ron Goldman's family all have potential lawsuits.

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