Mrs. Wilsey's fine art - Page 2

Wealthy socialite enlists Fine Arts Museums staff to help with her personal art collection

Fine Arts Museums staff helped ship "The Pink Blouse" by Henri Matisse. It belongs to Board of Trustees President Dede Wilsey.

The FAMSF has been leaderless since director John Buchanan died in December, 2011.

Though the museums are public institutions, their governance structure is similar to that of a public-private partnership, since a private nonprofit organization called the Corporation of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco handles museum administration and employs a number of museum staff, including curators and other professionals.

The city contributes some public funding to FAMSF, but the majority of revenue is derived from private sources. Wilsey, a multi-millionaire, contributed $10 million to the de Young, and spearheaded a 10-year fundraising campaign that culminated in 2005 with more than $180 million raised to rebuild the museum.

The socially connected philanthropist, known for throwing Christmastime bashes that attract a roster of powerful luminaries from government and big business to her Pacific Heights mansion, is often the subject of press reports or gossip surrounding San Francisco high society. Her stepson, Sean Wilsey, famously characterized Wilsey as his "evil stepmother" in his memoir, "Oh, the Glory of It All," which includes an unflattering scene in which she is said to have pinned $200,000 brooches onto her bathrobe one Christmas morning.

She owns a fair amount of art — and apparently moves it around. In August of 2011, for instance, email threads show that Chen, using her FAMSF email address, contacted Jamil Abou-Samra of Masterpiece International, the shipping company, regarding "Mrs. Wilsey's Degas." Chen wrote: "I brought the Degas to the de Young last week for glazing. It should be ready for Steve to measure for crating any days [sic] now. Are we still looking at August 30, Tuesday, for pick up?" The thread indicates that the painting was destined for the Royal Academy of Arts, in London.

An Internet search shows that the Royal Academy indeed hosted an exhibit titled "Degas and the Ballet," which opened in September of 2011. Press reports highlighting the artwork on display include an image of a Degas credited to "Collection of Diane B. Wilsey."

There is no mention of the de Young or the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco anywhere in the web or press materials discussing the exhibition. Numerous other cooperating museums are identified by name.

When the Guardian reached Abou-Samra by phone, she indicated that she was not at liberty to discuss any of Masterpiece International's handling of art shipments.


In February of 2011, email records show, Chen contacted Brindmore on his FAMSF email regarding a crate for a painting by Jean-Louis Forain that was bound for an exhibition at the Petit Palais, in Paris. The Parisian exhibit was launched in partnership with a Forain exhibit at Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis.

"Dede has a Forain painting that needs to be packed and crated ... The painting is currently in our storage and [FAMSF staff member Steven Correll] knows the exact location," Chen wrote to Brindmore. A few weeks later, Chen provided some special handling instructions for the Forain in an email to Samra, of Masterpiece International, just before it was transported to the airport.

There are established professional standards governing the operations of art museums, and the Guardian phoned several experts to determine whether it's common practice for a member of the Board of Trustees to call upon museum staff members to handle their personal artwork. In response, communications director Dewey Blanton of the American Alliance of Museums highlighted an ethical standard stating, "No individual can use his or her position with the museum for personal gain."


Nice piece, though from what I've been hearing from people in the know, things are even worse at the Fine Arts Museums than you make out. I love that former Chronicle and Examiner columnist Ken Garcia, who was a prototype for current establishment apologist C.W. Nevius, is now being paid directly or indirectly by San Francisco taxpayers to spin lies for Dede Wilsey, who treats the Fine Arts Museums like her personal dollhouses. It's a perfect symbol of the provincial corruption that fuels San Francisco.

Posted by sfmike on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

She stored a painting at the museum!! Campos needs to call a hearing immediately!! We need a measure placed on the ballot NOW! The DCCC must pass a resolution this week!

Who gives a shit? Wilsey has done more for this city than the Guardian has ever accomplished in its entire pathetic lifetime, unless you consider the multitudes of johns it assists with all of its sex trafficking ads over the years.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:53 am

isn't that enough to make up for everything.

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

but you don't even know the flavor.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

Are you saying you've sicked this troll on us yourselves?

Posted by Luke on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:27 am

Is that like Glen and Glenda?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:32 am

and has contributed very little to nothing to San Francisco, why do you consistently post on its blog?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

It's fun and so easy to provoke the usual commenters into a spinning frenzy of self-righteousness and rage.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

take themselves and everything else so ludicrously seriously.

As if they think that any of this actually matters.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

They don't realize that one's opponents are often the source of the best intelligence about the weaknesses of your position.

Instead of edifying their position with that knowledge, they attack that free information, because it originates from someone who has and therefore bears cooties itself, and enter into a spiral of denial.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

Yes. And what do the gay-hating christianists have to say about your lifestyle choice? Shouldn't you be off somewhere internalizing their critique of your existence?

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 3:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

Lucerita, and several "Guests" have often claimed -- how can it be example to others, let alone a effective one? Appears to me that Anon and Lucertia are The Guardian's most avid and commited readers. They are usually the first ones to comment on any post.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

this while still making big bucks at our jobs. Consider it a little light relief and, if it helps educate you, that's a bonus.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

And upon what evidence do I have to believe you make "big bucks"?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

assertions, unsubstantiated claims, ad hominems and personal attacks?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:30 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

on this blog, but rather having some fun pointing out what a clown you are. Thinking you are a clown has no relation to how much money I make.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:19 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 6:39 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 8:29 am

deny you the last word you so desperately appear to need to have.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 10:45 am

It's like one person babbling incoherently to himself. Much ado about nothing.

Posted by Lucretius Snappus on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:32 am

That's funny. I guess you think he is "Anonymous" too?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:48 am

I've long suspected that all these trolls are one and the same person. They are so perfectly matched in idiocy, don't you think?

Posted by Lucretius Snappus on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

What a fucking genius we have here.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:44 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

If I am babbling to myself, why are you reading my posts and responding to them, clown?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

serious discussions that you wish to prevent.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

and contributes little to nothing to San Francisco, why do you consistently post on its blog? Interesting to see someone exert so much time and energy on a newspaper that they themselves have deemed irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

Full spectrum dominance. We should try that sometime.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

The SFBG comment section is dominated by a handful of posters who have fun with each other playing in the same sandbox. The main activity seems to be throwing sand in each other's face and then gloating about it. Over 50% of the comments here are by these apparently very lonely and bored individuals.

Very little of import takes place in the comment section other than people embarrassing themselves with often stupid, shallow, and disgusting comments. Most posters are smart enough to hide behind an alias so that they don't lose credibility, influence or friendships with any "real people" they work or socialize with outside the comment section. Although ironically, the most articulate and thoughtful poster for my taste is "Greg," who appears to be a real person. The only other poster worth reading for content, instead of the hate and snark of the majority of other posters, is Eddie. But for the most part we post and read the comments here for entertainment and our own boredom, not to gain any great insights about a subject or to have a serious conversation about complicated issues. That's why people working on issues meet in person, listen to others, and formulate plans that most can agree on. There's way too much static here on the comment section that attracts a large number of unloved or unwanted children to accomplish anything useful.

In contrast to the comment play area where the lonely, bored, juvenile, and apparently mis-diagnosed congregate, the SFBG articles continue to be a powerful outlet for groups pushing for or against legislative or budgetary changes. Nothing gets done in the world without first organizing the tasks to be accomplished, and the SFBG articles often help tremendously with organization, messaging, and outreach efforts. The SFBG's endorsements are also very important in local elections, along with the DCCC, Milk, and SFTU slate cards. When these groups agree on a particular candidate or ballot proposition, they can make the difference in an election outcome. That's significant political power.

Because of the important organizing role the SFBG plays in the local community and its political endorsement power, commenters are attracted here to either push back or support a particular candidate or organizing effort. Since many people are quite happy with the status quo, anything to thwart the efforts of a potentially powerful outlet like the SFBG that is challenging the status quo is going to attract a lot of haters and noise makers to disrupt these efforts. And like many areas of life where there is perceived power, the site also seems to attract a fair number of wanna be "players" who live off the power of others, either as supporters or detractors.

The take-away is the SFBG plays an very important political role in the community; the comment board is mostly a play area for lonely and marginalized malcontents; and we post and read comments because we have nothing more productive to do with our time.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 8:51 am

The Guardian's content is provide by groups that want to organize. The problem is with what these groups are organizing for and how they organize. Given the political realities on the ground, it is clear that there is no concerted effort amongst the groups favored by the SFBG to organize to contest power.

They are reduced to organizing to protect their empires which may or may not have any connection to the communities they claim to serve. Milk and the SFTU's political power has been waning as measured at the ballot box.

So if your vision of progressive democracy is limited to poverty mitigation and union staffer prerogatives alone with a dash of burning man and vicarious prurience over self promoting sex operator pioneers, then the SFBG model of promoting press releases from labor and nonprofits is for you.

What is going to be done to arrest that decline and reverse the direction towards progress? How can we even begin to change course when naming dysfunction and failure is taken as a personal attack on the individuals as well as everyone with any identities they claim. Feedback mechanisms have been short circuited and the movement is hopelessly off course with no way to correct.

Instead of flying by instrument or theory, some time spent outside of the political shell game, the nonprofit coffee klatches but on the streets, in the neighborhoods, with people who are not steeped in progressive activist mannerisms might shed some light on the difference between perception within the echo chamber and reality on the ground.

We know what it takes to organize to win elections, it is just that none of this is being done now by progressives. It is the old school white people from the northern waterfront who are bringing the fight to developers. Sure, they have cash, but we have numbers, right? All we have to do is give them reasons to get mobilized that appeals mutually.

The take-away is: that never seems to happen anymore.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 9:16 am

Speak for yourself. As far as I can tell, "you" have no numbers and no organizing skill so there is no "we know" for you to speak about.

If you don't like the BG's positions or its role in current politics, then disengage and find more productive outlets. Bashing people over the head because they don't agree with you or subscribe to your priorties says nothing about them, only that you ended up in the wrong state and wrong city where life is much more nuanced, accomodating, and hopeful.

As others have said, most places in the world would love to have SF's problems. Malcontents are a dime a dozen wherever we go. Most of us learn to ignore them since their malcontent nature has nothing to do with anything important other than they're extremely unhappy for one reason or another. If they can't find a way to change to a more positive approach to life, that's their problem not ours. Learning to jettison the downers from one's life is the first step towards a more productive future.

Posted by guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 10:01 am

Over the past 8 years, progressives have gone from taking the mild initiative on policy to being reduced to the rag doll being beaten about by a vengeful Willie Brown.

WE used to win elections when WE came together and organized to contest power. It was not any one person's organizing skill but collective action that did the trick.

But when SOME cut separate peace treaties with corporate power, anti-organizing became the order of the day.

The Guardian encourages anti-organizing to keep the good thing going.

I'm not going to shut up about this because this selling out transacts our neighborhoods essentially out of existence as we know them in exchange for crumbs. I've been stabbed in the back several times for difficult, patient, successful organizing I've done by nonprofits and labor, my volunteer efforts gained them chits that they got paid to use to fuck my neighborhood.

Either we have us a truth and reconciliation commission where those who've taken money to sell out their communities can come clean or there has to be political consequences for that treason.

The first step in bringing those political consequences for bad political outcomes is naming them for what they are. Otherwise it will they and their asserted constituencies who will pay the price. We'll see one big ongoing social services game of musical chairs where the upscaling of the demographic diminishes support for social services and each budget season sees another round of bloodletting and permanent cuts.

You all might choose suicide but don't expect everyone else to go down with you.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 10:26 am

Every government, from cities and counties, to states and the feds, are making cuts because deficits are out of control, and are unsustainable.

I agree that the Progressives have been their own worst enemy, and that the voters have no faith in them. Lee beat Avalos easily.

But this is a global trend and SF only has a limited power to resist the inevitable cuts and changes. We're broke.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:00 am

does not exist.

The problem of the left is that it those who are not true leftists have adopted its mantle for their own ends; effectively subverting it from within. marcos fits this profile.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:07 am

When I volunteered in progressive politics, we won. When I quit volunteering in progressive politics, progressives began to lose and lose big.

Long before I bolted, I foretold exactly how things would fall apart and, lo and behold, they fell apart exactly as I knew they would.

The problem with the left is that there is no left left and the leftists have all jumped ship, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:19 am

but in the past I've refrained from pointing out how it makes you seem like some sort of megalomaniac.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

I am just right and you all are tragically wrong and are paralyzed in the face of your opponents, that's what it boils down to.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

He attacks those who disagree with his positions. His positions are unimpeachable - they are correct because he holds them. In that manner he is closely aligned with The SFBG's POV which states that because they hold an opinion it's the correct opinion.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

These people are so enamored with their theories and tactics that they'll fly by those and never look out of the window and repeatedly engage in controlled flight into terrain.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

who keep losing elections and insist the electorate is the one who's wrong - not them or their positions. Then they double down on their rhetoric and try and purge the "non believers." Now what local faction does that sound like?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

Except when my side flies into terrain, tens of thousands suffer for it.

And they still get paid, yes they do!

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

The only time you are ever reaching out towards the left, you have a sharpened stick in hand.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

Like so many San Francisco, I support neither the corporate elites that see government as their piggy bank or the nonprofits and labor who stake claims on the general fund. Why is all of politics in San Francisco just battles between people staking claims on public resources?

You're really sad, lilli, because to you, any deviation from the rigid progressive dogma renders someone a right winger. That's flying by instrument and theory again and you're headed for flight into terrain again.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

"non-profits and labor."

I'm not sad and I'm not a troll.

Progressivism means many things, but for instance: health care for all, living wage, rent control, oversight of police, populist control of government.

How the fuck do you get off trying to claim it's all about big government union contracts and non-profits? You are dishonest.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

It means putting people before profits. That agenda is all but dead in the water these days.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

and his theories... and his penchant for stabbing friends in the eye with a sharp stick... and sucking up to right wing trolls.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

Just because you want to play for a team doesn't mean the team wants or needs you. Most of the many people you've upbraided, scolded, demeaned, and degraded that are supposedly playing on "your" progressive side (which doesn't exist anyway) are over the tantrums and nastiness. It's been said before, you're one of the best people downtown could ever find since you excel at demeaning and you spend most of your time demeaning many of the people trying to counter the formidable downtown and real estate influences.

Times change. People change. The fact you couldn't figure out you needed a long break from the "progressive movement" and an even longer break from public chatboards only amplifies your lack of self-awareness.

If you had never moved to California things would be exactly the same as they are now, maybe much better since you (and others) wouldn't have pushed away good people with the outbursts and degrading behavior. If you stay or go, things will be exactly the same. You have no influence in current local politics, probably never did, and probably never will, just like the rest of us 99.9% of the population that waste time on public chatboards or get into inane political arguments at the local bar.

You have one weapon, calling out public and not-so-public figures that you berate and degrade as responsible for all your ills. You've been doing it for so long I doubt the words have much sting anymore, just the last rantings of someone who took himself way too seriously and didn't respect other people very much. Quite the opposite of a progressive philosophy, actually.

Every week we see marcos' name on the comment list. Marcos this. Marcos that. Doesn't it ever occur to you that when you're the center of discussion nothing gets accomplished other than people wasting time talking about you? You and anon and lucretia and lilli may think it's all great fun, but all you've done is degraded a chatboard that is a public space and turned it into a personal playroom. It's time to move on and go with Plan B since Plan A hasn't worked out too well for you or for the dozens of people who have to read your hateful and angry posts.

Posted by Ditto on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

So the professional organizers are losing more ground today than they lost yesterday, and will lose more tomorrow than today, that trend shows no signs of stopping or reversing, and that is the fault of someone who posts on a chat board?

The lengths to which you all who have bought into municipal corruption will go to avoid accountability! Politics cannot continue to only be about those with claims on public discretionary entitlements and the general fund.

Damn straight I'm mad. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Given the deals that nonprofits and labor have cut with downtown you have some fucking nerve accusing me of siding with them. You know that I can't be bought and that freaks you the fuck out, so attack, attack, attack.

You all stole the political capital of thousands of average folks over the past 15 years to gain a political toehold based on a set of political promises, have been progressively abandoning those promises, have become complicit in selling our neighborhoods out from under us for a song, and now you're trying to shame your way into a pass on accountability? I don't think so.

My record of accomplishment as a volunteer makes the record of most professional progressives pale in comparison. You all have stolen more of my work to be converted into chits to sell out average San Franciscans than most of you all have produced over the past decade.

I mean, when was the last time any of you all worked on a team that beat Scott Wiener not once, but twice at the ballot box?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

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