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  • by William Pinney

A celebration of JAF by honoring its Past Presidents

On February 20th, the Jonathan Art Foundation (“JAF”) honored its Past Presidents at the Town Club. This year’s honoree was Rich Reitzell who served as President in 2012-2013. Rich joined the Foundation's board when Elizabeth Van Denburgh was President in 2008-09. During his Board tenure, he initiated the Circles of Support to assist the Foundation financially, helped establish the Beach Club “paint out” and was the editor on the publication Art at the Jonathan Club. He was also closely involved with the biggest acquisition the Foundation has made to date, that of the painting Laguna Rocks, Low Tide by Guy Rose (1867-1925).

Given how hard it is to acquire high quality art, the story of the Guy Rose acquisition is instructive! Through a close relationship of a club member and friend of the foundation, JAF became aware in 2011 that the prestigious Joan Irvine Smith collection planned to deaccess Laguna Rocks. The painting (described in detail in JAF’s October 2017 article) had good provenance and had been exhibited in a prominent exhibition in Laguna in the 1980s. Though difficult to find and acquire, the JAF board had expressed a strong interest in finding a high quality Guy Rose to elevate its collection to a higher level. Fortunately, discrete discussions ascertained that the seller wished for a timely all cash sale and was proposing a valuation at the bottom of a range of fair value. Furthermore, the seller was prepared give a first offer to JAF with a tight window of several days to make a decision.

JAF had received a bequest from the Jane Lauman Trust two years earlier. Jane Lauman, a Club employee for 65 years, named both the Jonathan Art Foundation and Jonathan Heritage Foundation in her estate plan, and through her incredible generosity JAF has been able to augment and enhance its collection of California art.

JAF was successful in closing acquiring this very important work by, knowing what it wanted; having liquidity to fund the purchase; gaining the support of the Lauman trustee; making a quick board decision; having proprietary knowledge of the forthcoming sale; and possessing the community standing to assure the seller that this cherished work would be available for the enjoyment of many art lovers.

JAF is always appreciative of market intelligence from its supporters and continues to seek purchase opportunities. If appropriate, please contact us at

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