In the week that saw the DVD release of THE HOAX, a fictionalized film account of Clifford Irving's Howard Hughes autobiography fraud (at the time of the making of F FOR FAKE), it may be fitting in the name of caution to wonder further about the upcoming auction of Orson Welles' Oscar. Reliable correspondent that you are, Christopher, you raise more pertinent questions than the main stream media or the trades have bothered to.
For one thing, as you reasonably suggest, if the DAX Foundation received (purchased?) the Oscar from Beatrice Welles in 2003, after she sued Gary Graver and Southby's to prevent its auction in 1994, how is the Oscar at auction now, when the DAX Foundation did not come into existence until 2007?
What is the DAX Foundation? you ask. And if not Gregory Arkadin, who is "Mr. DAX"?
Well, the rather elaborate and flowing DAX Foundation website tells us with considerable hyperbole, and some very careful legalese, that the Foundation is into doing all kinds of good things for orphans, sick people, thirsty Africans, victims of Global Warming, broken down race horses, stray cats, and other needy creatures.
The website shows us a dark-haired man in a green silk suit, standing with his back to us. Alternatively, a Howard Hughes/Charles Foster Kane-like figure of a man in a wheel chair (attendant behind him), perched on the mesa of a cliff, is silhouetted against what looks like a tropical sea at sunset. The copy tells us that Mr. DAX was born and raised in the United States, but spent most of his life in Europe and Asia, presumably as some sort of tycoon. He has devoted the last 30 years, having returned from Macau or wherever, to quiet private philanthropy. Only in 2007, did he form the foundation which bears his name (or nom de guerre), and apply for 301 code status as a non-profit enterprise.
"All men dream: but not equally," DAX likes to say, quoting T.E. Laurence "Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams out in cold daylight."
If so, "The dark" to paraphrase Christopher Isherwood, "may be light enough."
For instance, almost the only accomplishment of the Foundation, aside from a vague reference to a speech on Global Warming, seems to be the procuring of the Welles' Oscar for sale. Every other enterprise or initiative listed by the Foundation either appears not to exist, is in the process of becoming, or makes no reference to participation by the DAX Foundation.
The Mayfair Foundation -- Said to be under construction by DAX to aid
disabled children in Southern California. No
other information available.
Over a Barrel -- Said to someday care for old lions, tigers, etc.
DAX tells us that it has purchased 120 acres
in the Lucerne Valley of Southern California.
Organs r' Us -- Founded in the San Francisco's Bay Area in
1997 to assist people in need of organ
transplants. Sponsors runners in the Bay-to-
Breakers. Has spread nationally, but lists no
affiliation with the DAX Foundation.
The Artesian African
Water Project -- Intends to provide drilling rigs to poor African
nations for water and irrigation. Not up and
running yet. Foundation promises 500
platform rigs over the life of the program. No
other information available.
Tanango Racing Horse
Rehabilitation Facility -- In the process of building stables. No other
Maui Cat Program -- Proposes to aid feral cats. No other
I could find no specific biography linking a David Weisman to the DAX Foundation. A Randy Shapiro was listed as a contact, with a Santa Monica area phone code given. Conditions are laid down for approaching the Foundation, rather like those that governed inquiries of the Thatcher Memorial Library.
It would seem inconceivable, having once been burned, that Southby's would not have carefully vetted the DAX Foundation, but if so, the charity certainly carries out its good works quietly.
Perhaps sharper minds than mine can gather more accurate information for you, Christopher. Thank you for stimulating a little detective work. We may find the need of "a little target practice," as I liked to say, when I was taking the Lady from Shanghai on the town.
Last edited by Glenn Anders
on Sat Oct 27, 2007 3:26 am, edited 7 times in total.