Opponents of the Berkshire Museum’s decision to sell 40 works are making a last-ditch effort to stop the sale. A few weeks ago the museum, along with the AGO (Maura Healey), presented a proposal to the courts which would allow for the sale of up to 40 works … and it was approved. Now, residents opposed to the sale have filed amici curiae (friend of the court) briefs to the Supreme Judicial Court in hopes that they can halt the museum’s efforts.
What this all comes down to is the museum’s need to raise $55M to stay afloat. While I am not in favor of any museum selling works of art for purposes other than buying new works or conserving its collection, I am still puzzled as to why they need to sell 40 works .. and their most important ones? Estimates the auction room proposed for many of the paintings were somewhat conservative. In 2013 Norman Rockwell’s Saying Grace sold at Sotheby’s for $46M … more than doubling its $15-$20M estimate range and the current auction record. Shuffleton’s Barbershop (a major Rockwell painting that is among the works to be sold) is every bit as good and should bring a comparable price — the auction room placed a $20-$30M estimate on it. On top of that, with all the publicity surrounding the painting it might bring more than the current record.
In case you would like to learn a little more about the Rockwell painting, check this out: Rockwell Video Minute: Shuffleton’s Barbershop