Sale of Museum Paintings Helps Conclude Strong Auction Season

Fifteen objects from cultural institutions passed through Sotheby’s at auction on Wednesday, showing that the debate among museum and industry leaders over deaccessioning hasn’t stopped these sales from occurring.

One work, Thomas Cole’s “The Arch of Nero” (1846) from the Newark Museum of Art, was a highlight, going for $988,000 with fees to a private foundation operated by the Florida-based collectors Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen, in a sale of American art totaling $15 million. Last week, Sotheby’s made a combined $703.4 million from its contemporary, impressionist and modern art auctions. Its competitor, Christie’s, had similar successes, reaching more than $775.2 million for the week.

Talk of deaccessioning, the sale by museums of artworks to cover some operating costs, had been divisive earlier this year. The Newark Museum of Art’s decision this month to consign the Cole and 16 other artworks (including pieces by Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe) drew criticism from more than 80 curators and historians who signed a public letter that described the sale as “inflicting irreparable damage” on the institution.

The Newark Museum of Art’s director, Linda Harrison, defended the plan earlier this month, calling it “thoughtfully considered” and saying it represented a loss of less than 1 percent of the institution’s 130,000 artworks.

have argued that losing public access to works like the Cole landscape, which allegorizes the fragility of American democracy and the dangerous allure of oligarchs, limits society’s understanding of history.

“It’s a sad day for the people of Newark who are losing objects that have been at the heart of their great art museum for many decades,” William L. Coleman, a former associate curator of American art at the museum, who is now the director of collections and exhibitions at Olana Partnership in upstate New York, said in an interview. “We did not succeed in stopping the sale and that will be a source of regret for a long time.”

The Brooklyn Museum also participated in the auction, selling a Mary Cassatt painting, “Baby Charles Looking Over His Mother’s Shoulder (No. 3),” for $1.6 million with fees to the same collectors who bought the Cole painting. Before this latest sale, the museum had raised close to $35 million at auctions in the United States and Europe for the care of its artworks.

Commodore Amiga personal computer. They will be sold as NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, a type of investment conferring ownership of works that exist only in the digital world.

Funds from the Christie’s sale will benefit the Warhol Foundation’s grant initiatives, including its substantial annual funding of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

“As the great visionary of the 20th century who predicted so many universal truths about art, fame, commerce and technology, Warhol is the ideal artist and NFTs are the ideal medium to reintroduce his pioneering digital artworks,” said Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist leading the sale.

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A new law in India makes it harder for foreign aid to reach Covid patients, critics say.

India’s devastating Covid-19 surge has galvanized corporations, nonprofit organizations and individuals in the United States to raise millions of dollars and send medical supplies to assist the nation of 1.4 billion.

But a sweeping change to India’s law governing foreign donations is choking off aid just when the country needs it desperately. It is struggling through a second wave of coronavirus that, since beginning in mid-March, has more than doubled the country’s total confirmed infections to over 24 million and raised the known overall death toll to more than 266,000 — numbers that experts say are vast undercounts.

The amendment, abruptly passed by the government in September, limits international charities that donate to local nonprofits. Almost overnight, it gutted a reliable source of funding for tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, which help provide basic health services in India, picking up the slack in a country where government spending in that area totals just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product.

The amendment also prompted international charities to cut back giving that supported local efforts in fields such as health, education and gender.

Newly formed charities are rushing to find NGOs that can accept their donations without tripping legal wires. And nonprofits are being smothered in red tape: To receive foreign funds, charities must get affidavits and notary stamps and open accounts with the government-owned State Bank of India.

“Everyone was caught off-guard,” said Nishant Pandey, chief executive of the American India Foundation, which has raised $23 million for Covid-19 efforts. On May 5, his group wired $3 million to an Indian affiliate to build 2,500 hospital beds. A week later, Mr. Pandey said, the money still hadn’t cleared.

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Donations to India Get Blocked by Modi’s Tough New Rules

Bake sales on Instagram. Online fund-raisers involving Hollywood celebrities. Pledges of aid from companies like Mastercard and Google. A middle-of-the-night flight by a FedEx cargo plane transporting thousands of oxygen concentrators and masks.

India’s devastating surge in Covid-19 cases has galvanized corporations, nonprofit organizations and individuals in the United States into raising millions of dollars and sending medical supplies to the nation of 1.4 billion.

But a sweeping change to India’s decades-old law governing foreign donations is choking off foreign aid just when the country needs it desperately. The amendment, passed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September with little warning, limits international charities that donate to local nonprofits.

The effect is far-reaching. Almost overnight, the amendment gutted a reliable source of funding for tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations, or N.G.O.s, that were already stretched thin by the pandemic. It prompted international charities to cut back giving that supported local efforts — and supplemented the government’s work — in fields such as health, education and gender.

more than 22 million infections and over 236,000 deaths, but experts say the toll is severely undercounted. Medical oxygen is in short supply. Hospitals are turning away patients. Only a tiny fraction of the population has been vaccinated. Mr. Modi’s government has come under increasing criticism inside and outside the country over its handling of the second wave.

Nongovernmental organizations help provide basic health services in India, picking up the slack in a country where government spending in that area totals 1.2 percent of gross domestic product. The United States spends close to 18 percent on health care. When the pandemic first surged in India, in March 2020, Mr. Modi asked NGOs to help provide supplies and protective gear and to spread the message on social distancing.

At the same time, India’s relationship with NGOs — a catchall term for the roughly three million nonprofits working across the country, including religious, educational and advocacy groups — has occasionally been fraught.

about a quarter of India’s NGO funding — roughly $2.2 billion — came from foreign donors, according to Bain & Co., the consulting firm. The September amendment, which was met with a backlash from India’s vocal community of activists, changed the landscape drastically.

“It came into existence so quickly that there was not the kind of public input or eyes on it that could tell you why it came into existence,” said Ted Hart, the chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation of America, an Alexandria, Va., nonprofit. “It was a shock.”

transport supplies to India free of cost.

The Indian diaspora of about four million people in the United States has swung into action. Some have given money to online platforms such as GiveIndia that route money to Indian nonprofits set up to receive foreign contributions.

It took just a few days for Indiaspora, a nonprofit community of mainly Indian-American donors, to raised around $5 million, including $1.6 million through an online fund-raiser in Hollywood.

“The approach we’ve taken is that the house is burning,” said Indiaspora’s founder, M.R. Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur who lost his sister to Covid-19 in India. But his group is stepping carefully in giving that money away. It decided to stick with a small group of well-established nonprofits to which to direct its funding.

“The way we’re handling our giving is that we’re making sure that the organizations are F.C.R.A. compliant,” Mr. Rangaswami said.

Nicholas Kulish and Karan Deep Singh contributed reporting.

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How the Golden Globes Went From Laughingstock to Power Player

The H.F.P.A. took advantage of its new prominence, too, polishing its reputation by hiring the savvy public relations firm Sunshine Sachs a decade ago. It has also increased its philanthropic contributions substantially. On its website it says it has given away $45 million over the past 28 years, with the money going to entertainment-related nonprofit organizations, college scholarships and the restoration of classic films.

The oddball accolades like Ms. Zadora’s in 1982 that used to be commonplace have been kept to a minimum. The last truly bizarre moment came in 2010, when voters nominated “The Tourist” for best comedy or musical. (It was neither. But it brought the movie’s stars, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, to the show.) And the members also started poking fun at themselves. Ricky Gervais, a frequent host of the Globes, said during the 2016 show that the awards were “a bit of metal that some nice old, confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and have a selfie with you.”

Yet everyone got a cut. Publicists got paid to steer clients down the preshow red carpet. Award strategists began charging studios for advice about how to manipulate the Globes voters. The Los Angeles Times reported in February that an H.F.P.A. consultant can receive a $45,000 fee for his or her work, a $20,000 bonus if the film earns a best picture nomination and $30,000 if the film wins. Fees flowed to an army of stylists, limo drivers, spray tanners, banquet servers and red carpet-layers, as well as the trade magazines and newspapers that benefited from the additional advertising revenue.

Mainstream news outlets, including The New York Times, began to cover the Globes ceremony with greater intensity, generating enormous online interest and lending an aura of legitimacy to the proceedings, even if the awards still did not rival the Oscars as markers of artistic achievement.

“Fundamentally, all the people who were in a position to be critical enough that it would have an effect were part of the system: the trade press, the major newspapers, the actors and directors,” Mr. Galloway said. “Anybody who could stand up with legitimacy and say, ‘I don’t believe in this, I’m not doing it,’ had an incentive to keep going until finally, the potential damage to their own image made them turn the other way.”

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Biden Aides Quietly Say His Tax Increases Would Help Charities

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s plan to raise taxes on high earners and the wealthy is likely to entice more rich Americans to give property or other assets to charity before they die in order to avoid large tax bills, a top administration official told nonprofit leaders last week in a private conference call.

On the call, a deputy director of Mr. Biden’s National Economic Council, David Kamin, was asked how the president’s tax plans would affect charitable giving — in particular, his proposals to change the tax treatment of the capital gains income that high earners receive from selling assets that have gained value, like businesses or stocks.

The plan “actually increases the incentive to give to charity,” Mr. Kamin told the group. “And it basically says if you want to not pay tax on the gain, the way you need to do that is to give the property to charity.”

Mr. Kamin further explained the administration’s rationale, saying “at that point it’s obviously with a charitable organization.”

published an online guide to Mr. Biden’s tax plans for its donors in November, noting that donating stocks and other assets that have gained value “to a public charity — like Duke — can have two powerful tax benefits.” The president’s proposed increase in the capital gains rate for high earners, it wrote, “would mean that significantly more tax could be avoided through a charitable gift, greatly incentivizing gifts of these appreciated investments.”

Patrick M. Rooney, an economist who is the executive associate dean for academic programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, said Mr. Biden’s increases could also create a psychological incentive of sorts for people who were under pressure to pass assets on to their heirs, but instead want to donate them.

“It kind of gives you an out with the kids and the grandkids,” he said. “‘I’m not going to give it to you, because so much will be taken out in taxes — and you can help me decide who to give it to.’”

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How to Help India Amid the Covid-19 Crisis: Victims, Frontline Workers and Donations

India’s coronavirus crisis is the worst since the pandemic began, and it will probably worsen before it gets better.

Hospitals are full, oxygen supplies are dwindling, and sick people are dying as they wait to see doctors. As workers leave locked-down cities for their home villages, experts fear that the exodus could accelerate the spread of the virus in rural areas, as a similar one did last year.

Official estimates of the nationwide infection toll — well above 300,000 a day — are probably undercounted, epidemiologists say. The reported figure will mostly likely rise to 500,000 cases a day by August, they say, leaving as many as one million of India’s 1.4 billion people dead from Covid-19.

Charities, volunteers and businesses in India and beyond are trying to help the country’s Covid victims and frontline workers.

Guidestar and Charity Navigator grade nonprofits on their effectiveness and financial health.)

Here are a few ways to help.

  • United Nations agencies, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization, are delivering personal protective equipment kits, oxygen concentrators, diagnostic testing systems and other supplies to India’s frontline health care workers.

  • PATH, a global health nonprofit based in Seattle, says it has a team of more than 200 people working in India to procure oxygen supplies and accelerate Covid-19 testing and surveillance.

  • The International Medical Corps, which works in conflict areas around the world, is raising money for a campaign to help provide medical equipment, P.P.E., isolation facilities and other essential supplies in India.

  • Care India says it has supplied hospitals and frontline workers in India with more than 39,000 P.P.E. kits, along with masks and other supplies. The nonprofit, which has worked in India for 70 years, accepts donations in any amount.

  • The Association for India’s Development, a Maryland-based charity that partners with nonprofits in India, says it has volunteers distributing food and protective equipment in most of India’s 29 states.

  • Project HOPE, also in Maryland, is a nonprofit providing medical training, health education and humanitarian assistance around the world. The group says it has given Covid-related assistance in 150 countries during the pandemic, including India.

  • GIVE.asia, a fund-raising platform in Singapore for causes across the Asia Pacific region, says it is working with the Singapore Red Cross to send ventilators, oxygen concentrators and oxygen generators to India. The platform also hosts fund-raising campaigns by individuals.

  • AmeriCares, a nongovernmental organization based in Connecticut that specializes in emergency medical response work, says it is working in several Indian states to deliver P.P.E., ventilators and other medical equipment, as well as to educate people on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • The Indian Red Cross Society has staff and volunteers running blood drives, delivering aid and medical supplies, along with providing other essential services across the country.

  • Youth Feed India and Helping Hands Charitable Trust are delivering ration kits to vulnerable residents of Mumbai. Each kit includes staples like rice and dal, and feeds a family of four for 15 days. Donate here in a variety of ways, including through Google Pay.

  • Ketto, a fund-raising platform in Mumbai, a hot spot of the country’s latest Covid outbreak, is shepherding a campaign by hundreds of entrepreneurs to purchase 3,000 oxygen concentrators. (The organizers are tweeting live updates.)

  • FromU2Them, a Mumbai nonprofit, is raising money on Ketto from individuals and Indian businesses to pay for food and medical supplies in the sprawling financial hub.

Shashank Bengali contributed reporting.

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India’s Covid Crisis: How to Help Victims and Frontline Workers

India’s coronavirus crisis is the worst since the pandemic began, and it will probably worsen before it gets better.

Hospitals are full, oxygen supplies are dwindling, and sick people are dying as they wait to see doctors. As workers leave locked-down cities for their home villages, experts fear that the exodus could accelerate the spread of the virus in rural areas, as a similar one did last year.

Official estimates of the nationwide infection toll — well above 300,000 a day — are probably undercounted, epidemiologists say. The reported figure will mostly likely rise to 500,000 cases a day by August, they say, leaving as many as one million of India’s 1.4 billion people dead from Covid-19.

Charities, volunteers and businesses in India and beyond are trying to help the country’s Covid victims and frontline workers.

Guidestar and Charity Navigator grade nonprofits on their effectiveness and financial health.)

Here are a few ways to help.

  • United Nations agencies, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization, are delivering personal protective equipment kits, oxygen concentrators, diagnostic testing systems and other supplies to India’s frontline health care workers.

  • The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, which represents more than 80,000 doctors in the United States, is sending oxygen machines to India. Each one costs $500. Go here to donate in intervals of $500 or here to donate less than $500.

  • The Canadian Red Cross is providing financial support for its counterpart organization in India to respond to the latest Covid wave and to prepare for future “pandemic and/or emergency events.”

  • Care India says it has supplied hospitals and frontline workers in India with more than 39,000 P.P.E. kits, along with masks and other supplies. The nonprofit, which has worked in India for 70 years, accepts donations in any amount. A donation of $134 pays for four P.P.E. kits; $671 buys 20 kits.

  • The Association for India’s Development, a Maryland-based charity that partners with nonprofits in India, says it has volunteers distributing food and protective equipment in most of India’s 29 states.

  • GIVE.asia, a fund-raising platform in Singapore for causes across the Asia Pacific region, is hosting a campaign to help finance about $75,000 worth of oxygen tanks for Covid patients in India.

  • Ketto, a fund-raising platform in Mumbai, a hot spot of the country’s latest Covid outbreak, is shepherding a campaign by hundreds of entrepreneurs to purchase 3,000 oxygen concentrators. (The organizers are tweeting live updates.)

  • FromU2Them, a Mumbai nonprofit, is raising money on Ketto from individuals and Indian businesses to pay for food and medical supplies in the sprawling financial hub.

  • Youth Feed India and Helping Hands Charitable Trust are delivering ration kits to vulnerable residents of Mumbai. They say each kit costs about 7 cents, includes staples like rice and dal, and feeds a family of four for 15 days. Donate here in a variety of ways, including through Google Pay.

Shashank Bengali contributed reporting.

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