Museums Put Artworks on the Table in Super Bowl Bet

Seattle Art Museum will loan a Japanese screen titled "Sound of the Waves" to the Denver Art Museum if the Seahawks lose to the Broncos.
Seattle Art Museum will loan a Japanese screen titled "Sound of the Waves" to the Denver Art Museum if the Seahawks lose to the Broncos.
(Seattle Art Musuem)

Sports mania and fine art mix once again in a bet made between art museum directors in the home city's of competing teams. This year, Seattle Art Museum and Denver Art Museum have wagered iconic pieces from their collections on the outcome of Super Bowl Sunday.

If the Seahawks win, Frederic Remington's 1895 bronze sculpture, "The Broncho Buster," will ride up to the Seattle Art Museum on loan from the Denver Art Museum for three months.

Quarterback Peyton Manning will need to deliver with the Denver Broncos in order for a loan from Seattle to come to Colorado. Seattle would send Denver its 12-foot Japanese screen from 1901 titled "Sound of the Waves," by Tsuji Kako, depicting an eagle with outstretched wings overlooking the sea. 

In tribute to the Seahawks (which is a made-up bird) team, the Seattle museum had first earmarked a fierce-looking Nuxalk tribal bird mask for the wager. The choice was changed when the tribe protested. 

In previous years, Indianapolis Art Museum's masterpiece by J.M.W. Turner, "The Fifth Plague of Egypt," went to the New Orleans Museum of Art after the Saints were victorious over the Colts in 2010.

The Milwaukee Art Museum and Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art kept the art-betting ball rolling in 2011 when Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bathers With Crab," featuring four lovely nudes, went to the Super Bowl champs' home museum in Milwaukee.

In 2012 and 2013, museums dropped the ball on the wager tradition.

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