The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

My Niece Has My $1M Kandinsky Painting in Her FIT Dorm Room, Aunt Fears

By James Fanelli | January 19, 2017 7:11am
 Mackenzie Wright and Faith Dorian-Wright.
Mackenzie Wright and Faith Dorian-Wright.
View Full Caption
Patrick McMullen

CHELSEA — Certain posters always find their way into college dorm rooms.

Party animals plaster their walls with the photo of a stupefied John Belushi from "Animal House." Theater geeks have a soft spot for the "Pulp Fiction" promo of Uma Thurman with her bobbed hair and cigarette. And stoners tend to go for a Grateful Dead tapestry or the "Dazed and Confused" smiley face.

But keeping a $1 million painting in a dorm room is a new one.

That's what the daughter of renowned art collector Faith Dorian-Wright fears her niece has done.

The aunt, Ingrid Wright, said in a court filing in Manhattan Surrogate's Court last week that her niece, Mackenzie Wright, wrongfully took a pricey painting by the Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky from her dead grandma's Lenox Hill apartment. 

"[Mackenzie] is a 20-year-old college student attending Fashion Institute of Technology, who on information and belief lives in a dormitory there," Ingrid's lawyer, Allan Kirstein, said in the filing. "It is a real possibility that she has squirreled away the Kandinsky in her dorm room."

The filing says that the Kandinsky painting, called "The Black Line," belongs to the estate of Faith Dorian-Wright, who died Sept. 18, 2016. It demands that Mackenzie return it to Ingrid, the estate's executor. 

Mackenzie's lawyer, Steven L. Keats, told DNAinfo New York that the painting belongs to her. He said that Dorian-Wright, Mackenzie's grandma, gifted it to her before she died. 

Keats also shot down the notion that it's collecting dust in an FIT dorm room in Chelsea.

"It's not in a dorm room. I can assure you. It's in a storage facility," he said.

Ingrid's accusation is the latest salvo in a bitter family dispute over valuable art and artifacts that were owned and stored in Dorian-Wright's Lenox Hill apartment.

Ingrid said in a court filing in September that Mackenzie's brother, Austin Wright, who lived with Dorian-Wright, wrongfully took a native Hawaiian bowl that once belonged to famed 18th century explorer Captain James Cook and is worth between $15 million and $18 million. Ingrid has said that bowl belongs to Dorian-Wright's estate and should be returned.

Austin, who runs the Museum of Democracy, said that Dorian-Wright gave the bowl to him as a gift a month before she died.

Austin and Ingrid have agreed to keep the bowl in a storage facility at the headquarters of the auction house Christie's until ownership is determined.

Ingrid's latest filing also says she fears Mackenzie plans to sell the painting since she has been attending Sotheby's art auction parties and the annual Art Basel fair in Miami Beach.

"Art Basel is a prestigious art fair with galleries and exhibits attended by major buyers of art from all over the world," Kirstein said in the filing. "[Ingrid] fears that Ms. Wright may be arranging to sell the Kandinsky."