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Billy Wilder and LACMA

September 09, 1989

With director Billy Wilder's announcement of the pending auction of his art collection, the powers that be at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art have again fumbled the ball ("Wilder to Sell a Treasure-Trove of Art," Aug. 30, by Suzanne Muchnic). His collection will not be donated.

Wilder's collection, although not of the stature of the Simon or Hammer collections (two earlier LACMA "fumbles"), is surely one that was assembled with imagination and taste.

LACMA's machinations with six pictures he had donated (the museum kept two and "deaccessioned" the other four without telling him), he said, "made me very, very angry and I hold it against them."

Wilder's reaction to the methodology employed by LACMA is just. Unfortunately, that reaction against the bureaucratic insensitivity of LACMA is also against the art-viewing public.

Seeing his collection would have been as delightful as seeing his films.

ED KYSAR, Reseda

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