That's how the City of Oakland described the resolution to the case of the missing Fasanella painting outlined in my last post. It was never lost, they said (after dispatching no less than a dozen employees to find out where it was). The painting had, since 2003, been on display at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, in a climate-controlled environment to protect the newly restored work from any further deterioration. The story of the city's reaction to the breaking news of the missing painting appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay Citizen (the latter being the Bay area's New York Times bureau). My phone interviews with the various reporters took place in a crowded NYS Thruway rest area while on my way to New York last week, so pardon me if I don't sound coherent :-)
The question of why the Fasanella is in an African American museum is beyond me at the moment, but suffice it to say that when Laura Ruberto went to the museum to see it, it was there just as the city said. Well, almost. The photo Laura took clearly shows the painting is in good shape and even has its informational plaque on the wall next to it for visitors to read. But wait. In the lower right corner there is a stereo player of some sort, and in the lower left a chair. That's because the Fasanella is hanging in a private office rather than a public space.
At least the city did the right thing in protecting the painting and placing it in a safe, climate-controlled area, but that's not the same as having it accessible to the people of the city, which was the spirit of the gift in the early 1990s. Obviously, more discussions with the city will follow, which I will share on these pages.