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The interior of the Four Seasons restaurant, a vision of Modernist elegance with its French walnut paneling and white marble pool of bubbling water, should not be changed, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission decided on Tuesday.

The decision was a setback to Aby J. Rosen, the owner of the Seagram Building, which is home to the restaurant. Mr. Rosen had proposed what he characterized as minor changes to the interior that was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson in 1958.

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 After an ongoing battle, it has been decided that Pablo Picasso’s “Le Tricorne,” a centerpiece of New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant, will be removed from the establishment. The 19-by-20-foot stage curtain, which has resided in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue since 1959, will be relocated to the New-York Historical Society.  

Back in February, officials announced that the tapestry would need to be removed so that the wall behind it could be repaired. However, many experts feared that the delicate masterpiece could be severely damaged in the removal process. The tapestry’s owner, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, entered into a dispute with the Seagram Building's owner, Aby Rosen, a prominent figure in real estate and art circles. After heading to court and spending weeks negotiating the fate of “Le Tricorne,” Rosen and Peg Breen, president of the conservancy, agreed that the Historical Society would be a deserving home for the tapestry. The piece, which is the largest work by Picasso in the United States, will be the focal point of the society’s second-floor gallery.

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Representatives for Manhattan real estate mogul Aby Rosen testified last night before the Old Westbury Village planning board in an effort to gain approval for the display of a 33-foot-tall graphic statue and two other large sculptures on his historic Old Westbury estate.

Experts brought by Rosen were on hand to link the plan with the "avant-garde" history of the estate. They also promised to screen much of it from the view of neighbors.

Neighbors had complained to village officials last month after artist Damien Hirst's "The Virgin Mother" was installed on a conservation easement at the A. Conger Goodyear House, a 5.5-acre estate built in 1938 and listed in 2003 on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Monday, 10 February 2014 13:42

Court Halts Removal of Picasso Tapestry

Justice Matthew F. Cooper ruled in a New York State Supreme Court that RFR Holding, the real estate company that owns the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, cannot remove Pablo Picasso’s ‘Le Tricorne’ from a wall of the Four Seasons Restaurant until the court issues a final ruling on the future of the art. The 19-foot-tall tapestry has hung in the Four Seasons, which is located inside the Seagram Building, for over 55 years.

The work was to be removed so that the wall behind the tapestry could be repaired, but the New York Landmarks Conservancy, which owns the tapestry, feared that the work would be damaged in the process and filed an injunction to halt the undertaking. During the court hearing, Justice Cooper said, “We’re not talking about wallpaper. We’re not talking about a poster. We’re talking about an irreplaceable Picasso...It’s part of New York’s social and cultural fabric.”

Peg Breen, the president of the Landmarks Conservancy, believed that once the tapestry was removed from the Four Seasons, Aby Rosen, an RFR founder, would replace it with a more contemporary work of art. Per Justice Cooper’s ruling, the tapestry cannot be removed from its current location without the Conservancy’s consent.

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