Edward Weston, Pepper No. 30, 1930, 8” x 10” photograph, Photo by Cea via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. © 2013 . All rights reserved.

There are Collectors and Then There are Collectors

Not too long ago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that investigators seized more than 2,200 works of art, mostly photographs, valued at $18 million from a warehouse in Newark, NJ that were intended to be shipped to Spain via Amsterdam.  The collection was shipped to New Jersey on an 18-wheeler that came from Houston, TX and was the property of Philip Rivkin, former CEO of the Houson-based company Green Diesel.  Mr. Rivkin’s company claimed to purchase and sell renewable fuel, but the fuel did not exist and Green Diesel defrauded Shell, Exxon and other oil companies from about $78 million.  Last July, Mr. Rivkin simply fled to Europe and it looks like he tried to have his valuable photography collection, with a predilection for photographs by the influential early 20th century American artists Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, join him somewhere in Spain, but alas, Uncle Sam will be keeping it.