Our guest speaker will be Stanley Mazaroff, a recovering attorney, many of you may recall from his years at Venable, who in mid-career decided he wanted to do something else. And do this he did!
After attending Hopkins Doctorate Program in art history and becoming a writer, he focused his most recent research efforts on a definitive book on George Lucas, a Baltimore boy who went to Paris and became the leading agent for Guilded Age Americans seeking to amass their art troves. Among the most locally notable were the Walters, father and son.
Lucas also amassed a hidden trove of his own which came to the Maryland Institute at his death. Many will recall the legal battle that ensued decades later when MICA sought to sell the collection to shore-up its finances. The legal challenge in the Baltimore City Courts happily resulted in a compromise that allowed the collection to remain largely in the Baltimore Museum of Art – some 18,000 paintings, drawings, sculpture and etchings shared between MICA and BMA.
The talk will focus on this battle fought in and out of court between the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum on one side and the Maryland Institute on the other over the ownership and right to sell the enormous collection of French art that was known as the Lucas Collection. Among the lawyers who were involved in this battle were: Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan – he was the judge; Ben Rosenberg – who represented the Maryland Institute; Andy Graham – who represented the Baltimore Museum of Art; Mel Sykes – who represented the Walters Art Museum; and Judge Frank Murnaghan – who secretly advised the Walters. This description of the battle is set forth in chapters 12 through 16 of his book, published by
Mr. Mazaroff’s book, “A Paris Life, A Baltimore Treasure. The Remarkable Lives of George A. Lucas and His Art Collection” presents a fascinating picture of the complex life of a pivotal personality in the fine art inventory not only here, but museum collections throughout the nation – all approached with a lawyer’s eye to factual details. The book is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and available at https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/paris-life-baltimore-treasure.