Artwork from La Salle University Collection Hits the Auction Block

  • Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012), The Temptation of St.  Anthony, painted in 1945-1946.  Oil on canvas in the artist's painted frame.  47⅞ x 35⅞ in (121.4 x 91.2 cm).  Estimate: $400,000-600,000.  This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May at Christie’s in New York

    Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012), The Temptation of St. Anthony, painted in 1945-1946. Oil on canvas in the artist's painted frame. 47⅞ x 35⅞ in (121.4 x 91.2 cm). Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May at Christie’s in New York

Philadelphia's La Salle University is unloading a trove of 46 American and European artworks from its museum collections through Christie's in a series of sales beginning in New York this week.

School trustees say the sale proceeds will fund initiatives from La Salle University’s five-year strategic plan. Opposition came from alumni and faculty, but the state attorney general approved the sale, echoing the recent result of Berkshire Museum's controversial decision to sell off key works from its collections this year to fund initiatives.

Tenured members of La Salle's English department sent a collective letter to the administration to oppose the sale, in part:

“This decision — made by the president and the board of trustees, without respect for the university’s core values or pedagogical mission, without respect for disciplinary expertise and proper consultation, and for the purpose of dubious initiatives —  is at odds with the central educational goals of La Salle University,” the English faculty members wrote. “All aspects of our university — not just our art museum and the art history faculty — are affected by this major loss.”

On the auction block are artworks dating from the Renaissance to the present, including one of only four Walking Madonna sculptures by Dame Elisabeth FrinkJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s Virgil Reading the Aeneid Before Augustus Dorothea Tanning’s Temptation of St. AnthonyGeorges Rouault’s Le Dernier Romantique (The Last Romantic); and Albert Gleizes’s Man in the City (L’Homme dans la Ville).

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