October court date set for NY museum artwork dispute

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September 13, 2013

AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) - Court arguments have been scheduled for next month in the case of a valuable 19th-century painting that a foundation removed from the New York home of President Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state.

The Citizen of Auburn reports that a judge in Cayuga County scheduled Oct. 3 for arguments in Ray Messenger's request that the Fred L. Emerson Foundation return Thomas Cole's "Portage Falls on the Genesee" to the Seward House Museum in Auburn.

The foundation, which owns the painting, removed the artwork from the museum earlier this year, saying its $18 million appraisal made it too valuable to be displayed at the museum.

Messenger, great-great grandson of former Secretary of State William H. Seward, has taken the foundation to court to get the painting returned and to block its planned sale by the organization.