Madoff Fraud Hits the Arts

Madoff Fraud Hits the Arts
Some prominent art patrons have been caught up in the $50 billion investment fraud perpetrated by Wall Street advisor Bernard L. Madoff, Artnet reports.

Hardest hit may be the Boston-based Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, which focuses on arts and culture, in addition to education, hospitals, and Jewish causes. The foundation has reportedly lost half of its money — $145 million — to Madoff.

The Shapiro Foundation has been a key funder of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA). At the MFA, Ruth Shapiro is an "honorary overseer," and the museum has an endowed Ruth and Carl Shapiro Curator of Prints and Drawings, a Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery, a Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, a Carl J. Shapiro Film Program, a Shapiro Celebrity Lecture Series, and a Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Colonnade and Upper Rotunda. The foundation also funds programs for special-needs visitors at the ICA and this year donated $25,000 for a teen education program.

The foundation has also contributed to the renovation of the Norton Museum in Palm Beach and was a principal advocate for the establishment of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Another art patron reported to be a victim of Madoff is Miami’s Norman Braman, a prominent art collector. According to the 2008 Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest people, it was the "[s]welling contemporary art market" that "bump[ed] Braman onto The Forbes 400" (he was number 281). His $1 billion in art includes pieces by Jasper Johns, Pablo Picasso, David Smith, and Andy Warhol.