In a big family squabble that went to court in New York, one family member is upset with others over the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. Fredrick Iseman, who is the nephew of artist Helen Frankenthaler and sat on the Foundation’s board for 20 years, is pointing fingers at his own family. He says they’re doing things that could hurt the memory of the artist.
Using the Legacy for Personal Gain
Iseman, pick by Frankenthaler herself to take care of her legacy, claims his family members, like his nephew Clifford Ross and stepdaughter Lise Motherwell, are using the Foundation for their own benefit. He thinks they’re going against their promise to protect and celebrate Frankenthaler’s legacy.
The accusations in the lawsuit are pretty serious. Ross, who is also an artist, is being accuse of doing deals where he gets Foundation money for showing his own artwork, which the lawsuit calls “pay-to-play.” Motherwell is said to use her position to organize exhibitions in small towns that, according to Iseman, don’t match the reputation Frankenthaler deserves. Hecht, the Foundation’s director, is also accuse of benefiting himself by using his own companies for Foundation work.
Shutting Down the Foundation?
The lawsuit says the family might be planning to close the Foundation and take the money for themselves. Iseman says they a plan in 2019 to close it by 2030, which goes against what Frankenthaler want. Iseman try to stop this plan, but during a meeting in April 2023, the idea came up again. In a later meeting, Iseman kick out, leaving Ross, Motherwell, and Hecht in charge, still thinking about closing the Foundation.
What Iseman Wants
Iseman’s lawsuit wants to kick out Ross, Motherwell, and Hecht from the Foundation’s board and bring Iseman back. He also wants to check if the Foundation’s money use right and make sure none of the art gets sold while they figure things out.
A Close Relationship
Iseman, who runs a money company, says he very close to his aunt, Helen Frankenthaler, and he’s doing this to keep the promise he made to her when she alive.
The Foundation, in response to Iseman’s claims, says they are not true. They mention that Iseman use to be the board president and part of big decisions until May 2023. They say he wasn’t re-elect in May and now, he’s making up stories.
So, it’s like a big family fight where one member says the others are doing things that could hurt the art legacy of their famous aunt. They’re fighting in court to figure out who’s right.