Thursday, June 28, 2007

Three Quilts Returned - Gee's Bend Case

Alabama Press-Register reporter Ben Raines's article today, "Quilts returned after suit filed," shares that three quilts loaned to Matt Arnett by Lucinda Pettway Franklin were returned yesterday to her lawyers - two years after the loan and just days after Franklin filed suit and hours after a Birmingham press conference where the Arnett lawyers challenged Franklin's claims. During the press conference, recently conducted appraisals of Franklin's family quilts suggested the "priceless" quilts were worth less than $500.

According to yesterday's Tinwood blog and press release:
"Now that these quilts [quilts made in the Gee's Bend area] are well known -- and some possess great value -- it is important to protect the integrity of Gee’s Bend Quilts. To misrepresent the age of a Gee’s Bend Quilt, or the creator of a Gee’s Bend Quilt, is just as reprehensible as promoting a counterfeit as an original Picasso. Some of these allegations in these lawsuits undermine the good name and good will of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, to the detriment of the quilt makers, who earn a living through this art. "

According to Raines's article today, Franklin's lawyers question why Franklin's quilts were in California.
"Isn't it interesting that two of the people who examined them were in California?" asked Peter Burke, one of the lawyers representing Franklin. "The lawsuit was only filed on June 19. Did they fly them out to California in the last weeks to have them examined? These quilts may have been in a museum out there or in somebody's house in California. Matt Arnett had them two years, but it took the filing of a lawsuit to get him to do the right thing."

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