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Hamptons Life

Jul 28, 2009 7:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Millions given to Thomas Moran Trust and St. Luke's

Jul 28, 2009 7:17 PM

The Helen and Claus Hoie Charitable Foundation Board of Directors has announced a gift of $1 million to the Thomas Moran Trust this week. The money will be used to help restore the historic Thomas Moran House on Main Street in East Hampton Village across from Town Pond.

The Hoie Foundation board also gave $1 million to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton

The Hoie Foundation, administered by a three-member board, was founded by the combined financial assets and artwork of the artist couple, Claus and Helen Hoie, upon the death of Mr. Hoie in 2007. Mrs. Hoie died in 2000. The couple, who lived in East Hampton part-time and eventually full-time over 40 years, had no children or close relatives.

“Claus had expressed his pleasure many times that something was happening to the Thomas Moran House to maintain it as a house museum,” said Judith Sneddon, the Hoie Foundation director. “It’s significant because it was the home of Thomas Moran and Mary Nimmo Moran. They were an artist couple as were Helen and Claus, and the Thomas Moran House is less than a block from where the Hoie couple lived.”

The restoration of the Moran studio will be named in honor of the Helen and Claus Hoie, Ms. Sneddon said. Her board was in talks with representatives from the current Thomas Moran Trust about a possible gift for more than a year, she said.

“We’re honored and grateful and it’s going to enable us to move more rapidly toward the restoration of the house, studio and garden,” said Peter M. Wolf, chairman of the Thomas Moran Trust. “It’s very helpful in this particular time and economy.”

Mr. Wolf said that the trust needed to raise $7.5 million to do the restoration, create a small endowment and operate the trust for five years.

The gift to St. Luke’s will be used in the construction of a large new parish hall, which will include a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled storage space for all of the Hoie artwork, a curator’s reception room for showing paintings and office space for the Hoie Foundation.

“Helen and Claus were members of St. Luke’s and had supported the church very heavily during their lifetime,” said Ms. Sneddon, “and St. Luke’s was also listed as a beneficiary in Claus’s will.”

May Wong Trent, a member of the St. Luke’s vestry, said that Hoie paintings would also be on rotation through the great hall of the new parish hall.

Ms. Wong Trent said that as the addition project had increased in size and met delays, it had exceeded the original budget. Although the gift will not pay for all the work, Ms. Wong Trent said the church is making progress. “We’re still in process of raising all of the funds, but we have it in sight,” she said.

Ms. Sneddon admitted that her hands shook a little when she wrote the two $1 million checks.

“I very much doubt that there will be any other million-dollar gifts, especially given the economy the way it is,” she said. “These were two institutions that were great favorites of the Hoies.”

The two large gifts were funded primarily from the sale of the Hoie house on Hook Pond Lane in East Hampton in July 2008. The appraisal of the entire Hoie estate, which included artwork, was $11 million, according to Ms. Sneddon. She said a significant portion of the estate is artwork, which is waiting to be stored in the new storage space.

Of Mr. Hoie’s work, there are 1,800 pieces listed, although some of those are tiny sketches. Of Mrs. Hoie’s, there are about 120 paintings and 120 collages. The storage space should be finished by the end of the summer, according to Ms. Wong Trent.

But at least three iconic East Hampton paintings will not be hidden away in storage, as the Hoie Foundation also recently announced that it was giving three of Mr. Hoie’s large watercolors to the East Hampton Historical Society, along with some smaller watercolors and sketches. Two of the paintings, which will be hung in Clinton Academy’s Community Room, are the watercolors “Clinton Academy” and “Mulford Farm and Home, Sweet Home.”

A third work, “Marine Studies,” will be hung in the Historical Society’s offices in the Osborn-Jackson house. Several watercolors from Mr. Hoie’s whaling series were also donated to go in the entry hall to the Historical Society’s Marine Museum in Amagansett, whenever it is restored.

The Hoie Foundation is in operation for only 10 years according to requirements set forth in Mr. Hoie’s will. Any money or artwork that is left after 10 years will go to St. Luke’s.

“So we have 10 years in which to give away these paintings and place them in public places, museums, schools and non-profits,” Ms. Sneddon said. “The main idea is to get their artwork out and get it seen.”

She said they can and have sold paintings, based on professional appraisals, and the money just reverts to the foundation and then can be gifted to non-profits.

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Dear Judith Sneddon,
I was saving some early video to dvd and came across a scene of Helen and
Claus during the LVIS 100th Anniversary Parade. This sparked a series of memories and I started digging. If you are still involved in their foundation, I wanted to remind you that one of my favorite Claus art is something he did in the early 80s in the TV Paint Box Media as part of a series promoted to introduce and help fund LTV in it's early days. Claus' work was the best of all, in my opinion, ...more
By flwd82 (2), Amagansett on Nov 11, 10 12:33 PM