Wednesday October 17, 2012

Claude Monet's famous water lily paintings seldom show up on the market, but one with ties to investment banker Herb Allen Jr. of Williamstown is up for sale. It's expected to fetch between $30 million and $50 million at a Nov. 7 auction at Christie's in New York, according to a Wall Street Journal article Oct. 10.

Allen, 72, a 1962 graduate of Williams College, gave $20 million to his alma mater in 1998 to help build the ‘62 Center for Theater and Dance. Forbes magazine puts his net worth and that of his family at $2 billion.

The Monet painting, "Nymphéas," from 1905, one of 160 the artist did of his garden pond at Giverny in France, was purchased by Allen's father in 1979, the article said. The elder Allen died in 1997 and left it to his wife, Herbert Allen's stepmother, who died last June. In September, the estates donated it to the Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Allen, who also lives in New York, told the WSJ the painting and two other Impressionist artworks were donated from the estate to the school to settle his stepmother's estate.

Rower of note: Lewis C. Cuyler, the principal founder of the not-for-profit Berkshire Rowing and Sculling Society, has been nominated, along with four others, for a national masters coaching award by U.S. Rowing, the national governing body for the sport with headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

BRASS, for short, maintains a boathouse for sliding seat rowers at Lake Onota, and it fosters local interest in the sport among new and experienced rowers alike. The group also conducts outreach employing the benefits of rowing; for example, its "Rowing Strong, Rowing Together" program teaches young parents the sport. All members of U.S. Rowing are voting on the national coaching award. The vote closes on Oct. 22.

His nomination states that Cuyler "brought rowing to the Berkshire area in Massachusetts for the first time 10 years ago, and the programs continue to grow. A recognized rowing historian who will turn 80 next year, Lew wrote the definitive biography of Ernestine Bayer [a pioneer in women's rowing] and is beloved in his community."

Another close call: The lucky stars must have been aligned around 1:15 on Monday afternoon when a confused, 80-year-old motorist emerged from the Lenox Commons complex and made a left turn into oncoming southbound traffic on the divided state highway of Route 7 & 20, also known as Pittsfield Road.

In a stroke of good fortune, Stockbridge Police Chief Richard "Rick" Wilcox saw the wrong turn as he was driving north to Pittsfield. Wilcox made a quick U-turn and intercepted the wrong-way driver, guiding him to safety off the busy road.

"He came close to hitting a couple of cars by a couple of seconds," said Wilcox on Tuesday.

As the chief recounted the incident, the 80-year-old driver had lost his bearings trying to find his way to a medical appointment. After he was picked up by his wife, the Lenox Police asked the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend his license as an "immediate threat" to himself and others on the road -- the second such incident in four days.

Wilcox, reluctant to take credit for a great save but acknowledging the danger, said: "All I could think of afterward was that could be me when I'm 80." Happily, the 41-year veteran of the Stockbridge police force is a youthful 63.

County Fare is compiled by Eagle staffers.