Thursday, August 25, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LXXIV

Doreen Gehry at the Plaza, 1/25/1966.
Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Living in New York I always found it more convenient,
like many artists, to work at night when everything calmed down. Most times I worked all night and one of these nights, working late on a deadline, I received a call from Los Angeles.

It was Doreen Gehry, the sister of architect Frank Gehry. She was one of the closest friends of my beautiful talented cousin, Adrienne Albert. They had lived together after graduating from UCLA.

Adrienne was professionally a singer. Classical, commercials, television — everything!
At the Stanhope with Adrienne and her friend Peter.
She had worked with Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein and many others and then met and married the director of Columbia Masterworks, producer John McClure; she was now living in New York City.
Adrienne Albert with Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein.   John McClure with Leonard Bernstein.
Today, Adrienne is a composer herself. She has won many awards and her works have been performed internationally. But that night, Doreen was calling to tell me that she (Doreen) had married Rolf Nelson, who owned a well respected art gallery in Los Angeles.
Rolf's family lived in New York and he and Doreen were coming to town and wanted me to celebrate with them. I had known Doreen for so long that she had become a surrogate "cousin" — she affectionately called me "cousin Bobby!"
They arrived and settled into The Plaza.

I was invited to go with them to visit the very well known painter, Lowell Nesbitt, a friend of Rolf's who had bought and refurbished an enormous building of almost 13,000 square feet near the Hudson River (that previously had been a police stable!)
In it was an interior atrium that soared up four stories; and on the ground floor was a large swimming pool!

It was sensational! Lowell lived and worked there.
He had become very well known and successful, primarily for his flower paintings (which were enormous!) He had done a painting that was 30 feet long and many of them were 20 feet long.
He was, at the time, represented by Andrew Crispo of the new and influential Crispo Gallery on 57th Street.
The gallery had been written about a lot because of the quality of the art and the extravagantly glamorous beauty of the gallery itself!
Lowell Nesbitt with his dogs and flower paintings.
Robert Indiana had suggested to Lowell that he make a transition from abstraction to realism. Lowell had taken the advice and run with it with great success!
As we were sitting by the pool talking, a young man arrived.

He was tan, dressed in white, and looking as if he'd just arrived from the Caribbean; he was very athletically handsome with a look that suggested he was fresh from a game of cricket ... or something.

We were introduced and I learned his name was Andrew Crispo. I assumed he was the pampered son of the gallerist-owner but was amazed to know that this was THE Andrew Crispo himself!

He looked so young and so successful that I couldn't help but think I'd missed a lot of opportunities! He was in his very early twenties. Around twenty one.
Lowell was painting large architectural paintings at that time and I was fascinated as we sat by the pool and Crispo talked about his plans for Lowell.

It was amazing that someone as young as Andrew could know so much about what the current art market was all about. It was even more remarkable that this apparent 21-year-old could be so knowledgable about how to market it and had the contacts to do it at the highest level!
Around twenty years later in 1985, there was news of a shocking sado-masochistic sex murder of a young Norwegian Fashion Institute of Technology student, Eigil Dag Vesti, whose burned body was found on the Rockland County estate of the United Nations Chief of Development Programs.
The smokehouse on a Tomkins Cove estate where Eigil Dag Vesti's remains were discovered.
The official's son, Bernard LeGeros, was accused of the murder and sent to prison.

During his trial he'd claimed that Crispo himself had ordered him to shoot and participated by first torturing and then stabbing Vesti after a drug-infused orgy at the gallery; the gun used by LeGeros in the killing had even been found in the gallery!
Bernard LeGeros escorted to court for the hearing in his murder arrest.
Curiously, Crispo himself was not even called to testify and was never charged of any crime especially since he'd been accused of a similar S&M infraction (but without murder) by a victim in 1984!

Bag of Toys, a book by David France, tells the whole story.
Andrew Crispo in custody.
People have wondered how Andrew Crispo, a brilliant and attractive young man who represented one of the world's great art collectors, Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, could've been involved in such a horribly perverse and sordid sex murder?

Even more importantly — how did he avoid even being implicated?

Did someone powerful pull strings for him to avoid involvement?

People still are wondering and LeGeros comes up for a parole hearing this November.

Just in time for the election.
Contact Bob here.
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