Christie's announced on Thursday its final appraisal of city-owned art in the Detroit Institute of Arts collections at $454 - $867 million. A van Gogh self-portrait led the numbers with a $150 million high appraisal. Overall, the valuation came in slightly higher than estimates given by the auction house earlier in the month.
Ordered after Detroit filed for bankruptcy last summer, the appraisal was provided for Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevin Orr. Christie's appraised only city-owned works, about 5% of the holdings in the museum's 66,000-piece collection.
With a city debt load of $18 billion, Orr filed for bankruptcy in July, and on Dec. 3 federal Judge Steven Rhodes approved the petition. Orr has said that the city-owned works should be appraised for creditors as the city's assets, but outcry from the public and museum world has been in fierce opposition to any sales.
Christie's says that their 150-page valuation report provides fair market values for the artworks. Among the most notable works are Van Gogh's "Self Portrait with Straw Hat," at $80 million to $150 million; "Le gueridon" by Henri Matisse, at $40 million to $80 million; Claude Monet's "Gladioli" at $12 million to $20 million; and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Graziella" at $1.8 million to $3 million.
In its Dec. 3 report, Christie’s also proposed five possible ways in which "the art need not be sold but used as a means to allow the city to raise funds from the assets."