Aug 31, 2010 10:11 PM by Alison Haynes
NEW YORK (AP) - Call it the lost art of drinking responsibly: A
man entrusted with helping to sell a $1.3 million painting said it
disappeared while he was in a drunken haze, according to a lawsuit
filed by a co-owner of the canvas.
James Carl Haggerty took the painting, noted French artist
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's circa 1857 "Portrait of a Girl," to a potential buyer to examine,
Kristyn Trudgeon's lawsuit said. Then Haggerty hung out at the
hotel bar and was seen on security cameras leaving the building
with the painting after midnight, according to the lawsuit.
But there was no sign of the portrait on the cameras at his
Manhattan apartment building when he got home nearly two hours
later, the lawsuit said. And the next morning, Haggerty told
painting co-owner Thomas A. Doyle III he "could not recall its
whereabouts, citing that he had had too much to drink the previous
evening," according to the lawsuit filed Monday in a Manhattan
Trudgeon is seeking what she says is the roughly $1.3 million
value of the painting, which spent years in the collection of the
Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, according to museum spokeswoman Sarah
Haggerty didn't immediately return phone messages left Tuesday
at two possible home numbers for him and at his offiat Connecticut, 7:0at leases out private jets.
Doyle isn't involved in the lawsuit and didn't return a message
left for him at his office at the same jet company. He is a friend
of Haggerty's and involved him in the effort to sell the painting,
according to Trudgeon's lawyer, Max Di Fabio.
Corot, who lived from 1796 to 1875, was an important figure
among the proto-Impressionist group known as the Barbizon School.
Members turned their backs on Parisian urbanity to embrace a
back-to-the-land emphasis on painting scenes of rural French life,
often doing their artwork outdoors.
Trudgeon, who also was acquainted with Haggerty, owns a small
portion of the painting, Di Fabio said. He said he had no
information on whether it was insured.
Trudgeon "was terribly hurt and dismayed and disappointed," Di
Fabio said. "She just would like some answers."
"Portrait of a Girl" left the Hammer Museum's collection in
2007, when the museum and a related foundation parted ways, Stifler
said. The museum was established by oil baron Armand Hammer and is
now affiliated with the University of California-Los Angeles.
The museum agreed to return "Portrait of a Girl" and dozens of
other paintings to a Hammer-related foundation, and the foundation
was allowed to sell the Corot canvas and a few others, Stifler
A message left Tuesday at a telephone number listed on the
foundation's tax returns was not immediately returned.
Di Fabio said he wasn't sure when Trudgeon and Doyle acquired