Foundation Medici to Appeal Ruling on Mural

WARREN, Ohio – Foundation Medici will appeal a judge’s ruling that grants sole ownership of a disputed work of art to The Butler Institute of American Art.

Attorney. Michael D. Rossi confirmed that the directors of Medici, which owns and operates the Medici Museum of Art in Howland, will file an appeal of Judge Andrew Logan’s June 23 decision.

At issue is a 14-by-20-foot ceramic tile mural created by French artist Pierre Soulages valued at $650,000.

The Medici Museum of Art had been the Trumbull Branch of The Butler from its opening in 1996 until November, when the Medici ended the Butler’s lease in a dispute largely over the Youngstown museum’s decision to not acquire on loan  the Boy Scouts of America collection of works by Norman Rockwell and other artists.

The Medici Museum of Art, 9350 E. Market St., later acquired the BSA collection. It opened earlier this year and now has the Rockwell paintings on display.

The previous owner of  the Soulages piece, One Oliver Associates LP of Pittsburgh, gave the work to The Butler in 2009. Money was then raised to build an addition to the Trumbull branch to house the massive mural. That addition includes a large window that makes the piece visible to passing motorists.

In seeking a ruling to retain possession of the art, the Medici claimed that the Soulages mural had become a permanent fixture of its building. Judge Logan, however, ruled that the artwork can be removed without damaging the building, and the gallery can still be used to display other art.

The court also ruled that the Butler is vested with sole ownership and sole right of possession of mural.

Pictured: The 14-by-20-foot  ceramic tile mural, created by French artist Pierre Soulages, on display in its gallery at the Medici Museum of Art in Howland. A judge has ruled that the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown is the owner of the artwork and may remove it. The Medici, which had filed a suit to retain ownership, has the option to appeal the ruling. (Photo Courtesy of the Butler Institute of American Art)

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July 8, 2020: Art Mural Belongs to the Butler Museum, Judge Rules

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