A Finding Aid to the Barbara Mathes Gallery Records Pertaining to Rio Nero Lawsuit,
1989-1995
, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.barbmatg
Creators:
Barbara Mathes Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
Dates:
1989-1995
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1.4 Linear feet
Repository:
The Barbara Mathes Gallery records pertaining to Rio Nero lawsuit measure 1.4 linear feet and date from 1989-1995. The records, assembled by Barbara Mathes, relate to the lawsuit Greenberg Gallery, Inc., et al. v. Patricia Bauman, et al. and the authenticity of the Alexander Calder mobile Rio Nero. The files contain correspondence, purchase and shipping records, and legal documents. The collection also includes printed material and photographs of the mobile.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The Barbara Mathes Gallery records pertaining to Rio Nero lawsuit measure 1.4 linear feet and date from 1989-1995. The collection, assembled by Barbara Mathes, relates to the lawsuit Greenberg Gallery, Inc., et al. v. Patricia Bauman, et al. regarding the authentication of the Alexander Calder mobile Rio Nero. The Barbara Mathes Gallery, co-owner of the mobile was a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The files contain correspondence between co-owners of the mobile, letters and accompanying legal documents from their attorney, purchase and shipment records, and invoices for legal fees. Legal documents are comprised of depositions, findings of fact, transcripts of proceedings, trial exhibits, and appeal briefs. Printed material includes clippings and magazine articles relating to the trial. The collection also contains photographs of the mobile.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as four series:
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1989-1995 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Legal Documents, 1991-1994 (Box 2; 0.9 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, 1993-1995 (Box 2; 1 folder)
  • Series 4: Photographs, 1989-1990, 1993 (Box 2; 2 folders)

Historical Note
Historical Note
In 1959 Alexander Calder (1898-1976) created a black metal mobile titled Rio Nero which collector Lionel Bauman purchased from the Perls Galleries, New York City (1967). Patricia Bauman received Rio Nero from her father's estate in 1989 and consigned the mobile to the Herbert Palmer Gallery in Los Angeles and L & R Entwistle and Co., Ltd. in London. The Greenberg Gallery, Saint Louis, Missouri, purchased the mobile for $500,000 from L & R Entwistle in March 1990. The Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York; Donald Morris Gallery, Inc., Birmingham, Michigan; and John C. Stoller & Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota, each acquired a twenty-five percent share in the mobile from the Greenberg Gallery.
In May 1990, the gallery owners saw the mobile for the first time and noticed that the work neither hung properly nor moved in a manner consistent with other Calder mobiles. In December 1990, the owners asked Klaus Perls, the noted authority on Calder and the artist's primary dealer from 1955-1976, to authenticate the Rio Nero mobile. After Perls deemed the work a forgery, Patricia Bauman declined to reverse the sale and the four galleries instituted legal proceedings. The plaintiffs, Greenberg Gallery et al., contended that Patricia Bauman, or someone acting on her behalf, switched the original mobile with a forgery and then presented it to L & R Entwistle as a Calder mobile.
In April 1993, the case was tried without a jury in Washington, D. C. and the Federal District Court awarded judgment to the defendants, Patricia Bauman and L & R Entwistle. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Oberdorfer, ruled out the testimony of Klaus Perls and the plaintiffs subsequently appealed the case. In 1994, the Alexander and Louisa Calder Foundation declined to include the mobile in the catalogue raisonné on the artist. On appeal, judgment was not overturned.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Carla De Luise in 2007.
Author
Carla De Luise
Provenance
The papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Barbara Mathes in 2005.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Barbara Mathes Gallery records pertaining to Rio Nero lawsuit are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
The Barbara Mathes Gallery records pertaining to Rio Nero lawsuit, 1989-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal documents Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bauman, Patricia Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathes, Barbara Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/