On Friday Nov. 24 the Onondaga County Public Library transferred 37 of John Barrow's paintings back to Skaneateles' Barrow Gallery. The late Skaneateles painter had donated a group of his paintings in a trust to the county library. But after it was discovered that a painting had been slipped from the library and sold at a tag sale, the two libraries entered into a discussion as to who would be best at archiving this work.
The problem was the amount of material donated to the Onondaga County Library versus Skaneateles' ability to already manage a great deal of Barrow's work. It seemed the natural choice to return the paintings back to Skaneateles, but it was a matter for the courts to decide as Barrow had created a formal trust.
After three years a judge voted in favor of returning the Barrow work to Skaneateles' Barrow Gallery for safekeeping, display and care.
"This was never a battle between us, but instead a resolution to a long, ongoing situation that needed a Herculean effort," Peg Whitehouse said. "I do believe the court's decision was well thought out and conscientiously examined what would be the wishes of John D. Barrow.
Peg Whitehouse, the director of the Barrow Art Gallery and the president of the John D. Barrow Board of Trustees, together with husband Doug Whitehouse handled the physical transfer on Skaneateles' end.
"The efforts in all of the negotiations and the entire process has been very agreeable and truly a joint effort with the best interests of the paintings and John D. Barrow's Trust at heart by both the Onondaga County Public Library and the Barrow Gallery," Peg said. "Kate McCaffrey at the OCPL has devoted nearly three years into making this a reality."
"The bottom line was that we have to do right by these paintings," Peg said. "The trust said they were to be enjoyed and appreciated."