When it was first announced that the Berkshire Museum’s ‘‘Shuffleton’s Barbershop’’ (by Norman Rockwell) was going to be sold to another museum many people, including myself, figured it might be heading for Crystal Bridges. Well, today we found out that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, which will focus on the art of visual storytelling, was the buyer. Since Lucas’s $1 billion museum has just broken ground (it will not open to the public until 2022), the Rockwell will remain at the Berkshire for the time being.
Look, there are many people who are very upset about the fact that the Berkshire Museum is selling off all of its important art … and nobody can blame them for felling that way. The thought that a museum would sell off its art to keep the lights on is not a pleasant one and is probably just a band-aid for a very deep wound. On the bright side, at least this one piece is heading to another museum and will remain on view for all to see. We will soon find out the fate of the other 39 works — 13 of which are coming up for sale next month. It will also be interesting to see how much longer the Berkshire Museum will remain a museum.