A federal judge decided this morning to keep the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and its directors in place, rejecting a motion by the art-buying gallery to end its conservatorship of the collection. Judge Lewis Kaplan said that the case, over an inconclusive declaration that the Chagos islands, home to the art collection, had been the cause of human rights abuses, had not been resolved. Under US law, he said, a conservatorship “must be able to administer itself or the conservatorship will be deemed to have failed.”
Judge Kaplan said it was “highly questionable” that the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation should be prevented from making its own judgment and that its employees could be interfered with by a board that held different views.
Catherine G. Sneed, the trustee, had previously stated that she believed that the Government of Mauritius had right to bring a suit against the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and other institutes over some of the islands’ human rights abuses. She has since seen that her previous statements have backfired and brought an issue that had appeared to be settled to the attention of the press and the public, about the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s continuing conservatorship of more than 2,000 masterpieces donated by the last King Solomon.
Judge Kaplan said he would consider in closing arguments whether, in the end, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation should end its stewardship.