Today, on Monday, May 25, 2015 – Memorial Day – I discovered an article that suggests Attorney Sydney Morris mismanaged the creative family estate of the world famous Carmel photographers, Edward Weston, and his son, Brett Weston. Cole Weston was also a photographer. All three of these famous men captured the Lone Cypress of Pebble Beach with their cameras. Kim Weston is the grandson of photographer Edward Weston, son of photographer Cole Weston and nephew of photographer Brett Weston.
Sydney Morris is suing Carol Williams who tried to stop the sale of this Creative Family Legacy to a banker.
“As a coda to the events surrounding the legal fight over the sale of Weston”s archive to Keesee, Williams herself was sued this past October by Morris on behalf of the estate over breach of contract for the remaining two books on Weston”s work, and for the return of 600 Weston photographs intended for those publications. She is also being sued for money Morris says is due the estate as a result of ongoing sales of Weston”s work by Williams at the Photography West Gallery.”
Today, I am free! I now own credibility that was destroyed by my family and my friends, Mark Gall, and Ed Corbin, who came to believe I was a money hungry parasite out to get what I can, thus, I concocted (with the help of mental illness) a deluded tale about the fiendish executor of the Creative Family Estate of Christine Rosamond Benton. There are three generation of Benton Artists that included Thomas Hart Benton, who is not mentioned to the dirty book Sydney Morris blessed in a legal document, wherein my mother is demonized, and some of her children accused of looting her daughter’s home in Pacific Grove the day of Rosamond’s funeral.
Morris sold this important Artistic Legacy to Stacey Pierrot, who promenaded her fat as around Carmel claiming she was the “Caretaker” of our family legacy and history. In a second biography – wherein Pierrot crams all the Beautiful Images of the Rosamond Women in hope of bagging a movie deal – this is said about the mother of two creative children who will forever be in the Benton Family Tree, and in the Creative Carmel Tree of Artists, Writers, Photographers, and Bohemians.
If Christine’s parents had embraced her talent, there might be existing works from her childhood, but this was not to be. Fearing that Christine would steal her brother’s spotlight as the family artist, Christine’s mother, Rosemary, forbade Christine to draw at home. The only time she could express herself was at school or in her closet, by flashlight, when everyone else was asleep. Though we don’t have images to prove it, Christine’s kindergarten teacher has said that, by age five, Christine was already drawing with adult skill. She can remember Christine’s pictures of animals having near perfect detail and perspective.
In addition to oppressing Christine artistically, Rosemary also dominated Christine with physical violence. Trying to support four children with only a high school education and little help from her alcoholic husband, Rosemary was often enraged. She took this rage out on Christine and Christine’s earliest known works reflect it. In Teenage Drawing II, her subject is reticent and withdrawn. In Teenage Drawing III, the woman looks shocked and angry.”
If Sydney Morris had embraced my talents, then the Rosamond estate would not lie in ruins, like my family. Add to this the ruin lawyers rained down on the Buck Trust that once catered more to the Artists of Marine County, then we behold a Huge Attack on Arts of California that includes Lawrence Chazen, a CEO of Noble Oil, and partner of several members of the Getty, Pilosi, and Newsome family, in the Plumbjack Winery.
Robert B. Buck is the owner of the law firm Heisinger, Buck, and Morris that appears to be handling the Buck Family estate. Robert is/was the president of this trust, and may be related to this famous California family. Then there is the Alcohol Justice a major concern of the Buck Trust.
But, what is truly extraordinary are the rustic Carmel Cabins by the sea owned by the Weston family, that remind me of the last place my beloved sister lay her head.
Rosemary Rosamond received a honorary diploma from Ventura City College because she dropped out of UCLA and joined the WAVES. Due to scoring the second highest I.Q. score in their history, my mother served in Naval Espionage spying on the Russians as they drove Hitler’s troops back to Berlin. Rosemary is buried in the military cemetery in San Francisco.
Above is a photographer recreating a shot that Edward Weston took years ago. When I saw my mother before she died in 1995, I insisted she call Sydney Morris and find out what is going on with the estate. He said this on the phone;
“Funny you should call. Stacey and I just finished clearing out Christine’s house, all but a large box of family photos. Do you want them?”
I heard the long silence from my mother, and beheld the lethal long distant look she gave Morris.
“Of course I want them!”
Before Rosemary died, she asked me if I had any children. I told her a Seer said I had two, but. I was not sure I quite believe her. Rosemary died in 1997. In 2000, my sixteen year old daughter came into my life for the first time. Then, my grandson, Tyler Hunt, was born. We are under Rosemary Rosamond Tree.
President: Royal Rosamond Press ‘A newspaper for the protection of the arts.’
“Called “the Super Bowl of probate,” the fight over the sanctity of Mrs. Buck’s will put about 110 attorneys and legal aides to work–some for nearly three years. Yet the lawyers may have lost more in good will than the millions they reaped at the expense of her “hope chest for the needy.”
While the case was spotlighted in the national media, little has been said by or about those who had the biggest hand in its outcome–the lawyers themselves. Theirs is a story of alleged deceit, of concealment of documents, and of opposing sides each convinced that it was in the right. And it is the story of a small-time country lawyer whose style of courtroom guerrilla warfare overcame the full legal might of one of San Francisco’s leading law firms.”
At the center of the dispute is Weston”s long-time agent and friend, Carol Williams, owner and director of the Photography West Gallery in Carmel, and Carmel attorney Sidney Morris, executor for the Weston estate.
The point of contention between Williams and Morris has been the sale of Weston”s entire photographic archive to an Oklahoma banker and art collector named Christian Keesee, as well as the status of ongoing print sales, and a previous publishing contract between Weston and the Photography West Gallery.
At issue is whether the sale to Keesee, which was finalized and approved by the court last summer despite efforts by Williams to overturn the sale, violated Weston”s expressed interests for his archive, and whether the sale will have a negative impact on the value of Weston”s work and its assessment by art historians.
As suggested by a review of the court documents and interviews with many of the principals in the court case, the dispute over Weston”s estate has been a grotesque, acrimonious soap opera, replete with insinuations and outright charges of deception, theft, financial manipulation, malfeasance and mismanagement.
According to Williams, she was approached by Morris in the fall of ”95 to discuss the purchase of the archive.
“Sidney told me it had been decided that the entire vault was going to be sold because Erica wanted money instead of prints,” says Williams.
“I was told by Sidney that Brett would have wanted me to have the [archive] and that he was prepared to do battle for me with Erica,” adds Williams. “What I got from Sidney was he didn”t want the liability and responsibility and management headaches of selling the archive individually.”
According to Morris, the estate had given consideration to managing Weston”s archive itself, but decided that such a time-consuming and complicated endeavor was not worth the potential financial risks and uncertainty.
“We had considered trying to manage the estate and running it as a business, but in view of what we had to deal with, in our opinion to run it as a business entity would have been long and arduous and maybe not successful,” says Morris. “Erica”s lawyers and my lawyers felt it would be in the best interests of the estate to dispose of substantially all of the collection.”
Prior to discussions with Williams, Morris approached the Center For Creative Photography as a possible buyer. As a research and educational institution housing more than 60,000 photographs, archives books and documents of such noted photographers as Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Wynn Bullock, the Center seemed a likely choice.
“As Brett”s executor, I hoped I could find some way to create a photographic legacy with the Center after it seemed unlikely the trust could market its entire collection during Erica”s lifetime,” says Morris.
According to Morris, the Center declined to purchase the archive because of its unwillingness to take on the necessary financial obligations such a purchase would entail in terms of providing for Erica Weston and the estate
Morris confirms that the Center did want to buy the 50th Anniversary Portfolio, worth an estimated $300,000, but the price that was offered was below market value and “prejudicial to the interest of the income beneficiary.”
As discussions between Morris and Williams proceeded, and a figure of $1.5 million was proposed for purchase of the estate, Williams says she thought the deal would be completed, pending the approval of the sale by Erica and the Center, which Williams says Morris sought as a “”courtesy”” to the Center. But such approvals, says Morris, were not forthcoming.
The response to the proposed sale to Williams, says Morris, was “strictly negative from Erica, and the Center was concerned about Carol personally and her business practices. They thought there would be a sale to another museum and they weren”t enamored with the idea,” says Morris, who insists that no deal was ever finalized between the estate and Williams.
In addition to the archive, Morris sold all reproduction rights to Keesee in an exclusive licensing agreement, giving Keesee the right to reproduce and publish Weston”s work for 25 years in exchange for 7 percent of the gross sales to the estate. It has been suggested by sources that those rights could be worth upwards of an additional $1 million.
As far as Morris is concerned, the terms of the sale of the Weston archive represents the best outcome for both Weston”s estate, and for the legacy of Weston”s artistic achievement. Any supposed controversy over the sale, says Morris, is strictly in the mind of Williams, and that Brett never explicitly stated how he wanted his archive disposed of.
“I honestly feel the results achieved over the past four years are as good as could have been achieved for this estate,” says Morris. “We”ve done all we can do and I feel good about it. It has not been easy, but it”s my nature to know what I”m doing is right and doing the best job to get the estate closed.
As a coda to the events surrounding the legal fight over the sale of Weston”s archive to Keesee, Williams herself was sued this past October by Morris on behalf of the estate over breach of contract for the remaining two books on Weston”s work, and for the return of 600 Weston photographs intended for those publications. She is also being sued for money Morris says is due the estate as a result of ongoing sales of Weston”s work by Williams at the Photography West Gallery.
Williams says she hadn”t gone forward on the other books because Morris told her the estate didn”t want any additional tax liabilities from any additional sales or promotions.
Morris denies Williams assertions, and says only that negotiations between the estate and Williams are ongoing and may be resolved in January.
“My feeling is she breached her contract for the other two books, and the estate issues have nothing to do with her failure to do the last two books,” says Morris.
Edward Henry Weston (March 24, 1886 – January 1, 1958) was a 20th-century American photographer. He has been called “one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…” and “one of the masters of 20th century photography.” Over the course of his 40-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a “quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography” because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years.
In early 1929 he moved to Hagemeyer’s cottage in Carmel, and it was there that he finally found the solitude and the inspiration that he was seeking. He placed a sign in studio window that said, “Edward Weston, Photographer, Unretouched Portraits, Prints for Collectors.”
He started making regular trips to nearby Point Lobos, where he would continue to photograph until the end of his career. It was there that he learned to fine-tune his photographic vision to match the visual space of his view camera, and the images he took there, of kelp, rocks and wind-blown trees, are among his finest. Looking at his work from this period, one biographer wrote:
Besides the countless tourist snapshots, the tree has been photographed by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston and an army of other commercial photographers. It has been captured in oils for canvases sold in dozens of art galleries in neighboring Carmel. Merely to see a photograph or painting of it serves to place the viewer on this stunning stretch of coastline between Monterey and Big Sur.
But now the Pebble Beach Company, which owns the property, is arguing that when people see a depiction of the Lone Cypress, the association they make is not so much with the wild natural beauty of the area as with the company and its resort complex here.
A drawing of the tree was registered as the company’s trademark in 1919. Kerry C. Smith, a San Francisco lawyer who represents the company, said the trademark protected not only the logo but also the tree itself.
Even though pictures of the tree have graced everything from postcards to hotel brochures for decades, the company has begun warning photographers and galleries that it intends to control any depiction of the tree for commercial purposes. ”The image of the tree has been trademarked by us,” Mr. Smith said
Robert B. Buck, President and Principal Owner
Bob Buck is the President and principal owner of Del Monte Aviation. Mr. Buck acquired and redeveloped Monterey’s fifty year old Del Monte Aviation in early 1996, using his more than five thousand pilot hours as a guide.
Mr. Buck’s development of Del Monte Aviation followed many years of activity in real estate development, agribusiness and oil production. He is a founding partner of the Carmel law firm of Heisinger, Buck and Morris. Mr. Buck is active in charitable endeavors, now serving as Vice Chairman of the Buck Institute in Marin County, California, a medical research facility specializing in the problems of aging.
He was the founding president of the Frank and Eva Buck Foundation, which grants college scholarships in Northern California and has been on the Board of the Jeffers Tor House Foundation in Carmel for many years.
Alcohol Justice was established in 1987 as one of three major projects funded by the Leonard and Beryl H. Buck Trust at the same time the Marin Community Foundation was formed. The Marin Institute reported in 2006 that “countering the alcohol industry has always been a high priority for the Marin Institute, but we now want to make it the central focus of our efforts. That means we’ll put 100% of our energy into stopping the alcohol industry from harming public health.” In July 2011, the Marin Institute changed it name to Alcohol Justice to better align the organization’s name with the national reach of its network.
The Buck Foundation Trust was created by Beryl Hamilton Buck after the death in 1953 of her husband, pathologist Leonard W. Buck. Leonard’s father, Frank Buck, was one of the founders of Belridge Oil. When Beryl Buck passed away in 1975, the bulk of the estate became part of the San Francisco Foundation, about $7.6 million dedicated to “charitable purposes in Marin County” including, in her words, “extending help to the problems of aging.” The Belridge Oil stock in the trust was bought in 1979 by Shell Oil for $253 million, increasing the trust’s value substantially
After drilling for oil and only finding water, they reorganized their business into the Rodeo Land and Water Company to develop a new residential town later known as Beverly Hills, California.
He married Zayda Zabriskie in 1911 and they had four children. After they divorced, he married Eva M. Benson in 1926. He died on September 17, 1942. He was interred in Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery, in Vacaville, California. His wife, Eva B. Buck, founded the Frank H. Buck Scholarship, which is awarded each year to 8 to 16 high school seniors, who have to live in his former congressional district.
Frank and Zayda divorced and Frank married Eva M. Benson in 1926. Eva was born May 18, 1897 to Swedish immigrants Martin Olaf and Emma Benson in Alameda. She received her primary and secondary education in Alameda, and enlisted as a yoemanette in the U.S. Navy during World War I, serving in the Bay Area and receiving an honorable discharge at the end of the war. Frank and Eva had two children William Benson and Carol Franc.
Eva’s daughter Carol Franc Buck, her grandsons Christian Erdman and Paul Buck currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Buck Foundation along with Walter Buck, son of Frank H. Buck III, and Walter’s daughter, Stacey B. Morris.
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