Polaroid's art collection to go on the block
Yes, the crooks and swindlers who ran that company into the ground have now been ordered to auction off the extensive photographic art collection built up over the decades.
One of the commenters on this site said it best -- society's WalMart-ization is killing America.
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau
I am not sure that I understand your reaction here. If the photographs were the property of the corporate entity polaroid, why should they be protected from bankruptcy proceedings? (esp. if the mgmt were "crooks and swindlers" as you claim) Perhaps they will pass into more responsible hands and, in transit, help to make whole the debtors.
I seem to recall that when it was first announced that the collection would be sold, there was actually some issue of ownership--some photographers claimed the photos were only loaned to Polaroid. The new article does not say how that was resolved, whether they are only selling items Polaroid has clear title to. Or what will happen to the rest. And Polaroid's last owners were indeed crooks--caught in Ponzi-type financial fraud. What that has to do with Wal-Mart, I don't know either (and I am no fan of Wal-Mart).
Originally Posted by pelerin
Information regarding this is available at Photocritic International written by A.D. Coleman and it is a big sorry mess.
There seem to be many misconceptions about this situation.
The holders (not owners) of this collection were not ordered to sell by anyone, they sought permission to sell and the court order involved allows them to do so.
The great majority of the images apparently were on permanent loan to Polaroid with the express proviso that they should be available to the artist for reproduction and/or exhibition.
There is a huge, so far unexplained, descrepency between the 24,000 works that Polaroid claimed for many years to have and the 16,000 that are now claimed.
I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in this story to read Mr. Coleman on the subject.
Here's a link to A.D. Coleman's blog which has a number of posts regarding the Polaroid Collection.
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This whole case is one big mess. I have about 2 1/2 inches of court papers telling the photographers that we have no claim to these images. The core of the collection are silver prints and not Polaroids this is the heart of the collection. The bulk of the collection are Polaroids and where made by lesser known photographers at the time. The court is not willing to sort out all the contract agreements for each photographer, and each image in the collection. The sad news is that the heart will be sold and the lessor images will be ??????? I dare say that Sothebys will not go looking for the makers of those works. My dog in this fight is that they have 3 of my images. Jan Pietrzak
Last edited by Jan Pietrzak; 02-12-2010 at 10:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This situation is so sad to me. The Polaroid collection as a whole was a part of photographic history and represented a really historic relationship between a corporation and the art community. Watching the collection get sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder is a true shame.
I also worry about the thousands of Polaroids in the collection by lesser known artists. I’m sure Sotheby’s will take great care in the way they handle works by the likes of Ansel Adams, Helmut Newton and Andy Warhol, but what of those works that are also truly remarkable but don’t have a big name attached to them?
Does Sotheby's have a reputation of poor handling of product? If not I'm sure they will treat them well. After they're sold who knows.
Last edited by Rlibersky; 02-12-2010 at 12:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Does Sotheby's have.......is a big issue. If the work is sold what rights are be sold with the work????? The work held by Polaroid was to be used for shows and corporate advertising, the total rights to the work was held by the maker of the work. The photographer could use the work at any time. At some point the rights held by the image maker were lost, and the new court was not looking into that, it stated that we have no rights to the work....
So the work will be sold....what if the work does not sell....what happens to it. It should be returned to the photographer/artist that made it period. And will Sotheby's notify the maker/ers of the work if it sell or not I think.....?
If the work is sold fine I want to know who has it. If the work is 5 feet from the dumpster I WANT IT BACK.