Appeals Court to Hear Suit Against Berkshire Museum Art Sales

THOMAS WILMER DEWING, The White Dress.  Oil on canvas.
THOMAS WILMER DEWING, The White Dress. Oil on canvas.
(Berkshire Museum)

While some $47 million in art may have already been sold, an appeals case against the Berkshire Museum's offloading of its collections will go forward in Sept., reports the Berkshire Eagle.

Detractors say the museum breached a contract with museum members and betrayed the public trust by deaccessioning seminal artworks from its collections. 

Local museum members (along with three of artist Norman Rockwell's sons) have been behind legal actions against the museum.

"Such a dissipation of cultural property in service of short-term finance, if permitted, would be without precedent in American history," the legal brief states. "While other museums have attempted similar monetization of their cultural property to disastrous result, none have ever done so on the scale proposed here."

A Massachuesetts judge's decision in April to allow the museum in Pittsfield, Mass., to deaccession dozens of key artworks came after a seven month investigation by the state attorney general which ended with a plan for the cash-strapped museum to go forward with the sales despite opposition from museum organizations, locals, art lovers, and artist Norman Rockwell's family.

Rockwell's "Shuffleton's Barbershop" has now been sold to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which will be in L.A., while 39 other artworks were offered at auction.

The appeal will be heard in a Boston courtroom on Sept. 4.

More News Feed Headlines

"Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" (1972) by David Hockney

David Hockney Painting Snags $90.3 Million in New York; Bidder Wants to Whitewash Banksy He Bought in LA

  • November 15, 2018 23:03

David Hockney's sensual pool painting with two male figures became the most expensive work by a ...

Read More

Detail of Salvator Mundi by da Vinci.

Russian Art Collector Dmitry Rybolovlev Detained in Monaco

  • November 08, 2018 13:39

Update 11/9/18: Unspecified charges have been filed, via Bloomberg. Dmitry Rybolovlev, the ...

Read More

Romare Bearden, Cotton, 1964.  Gelatin silver print (photostat) on fiberboard (Ed.  1/6), 39 x 49 in.  (99.1 x 124.5 cm).  Colby College Museum of Art.  The Lunder Collection, 2017.003.  © 2018 Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Arts Initiative Across Maine Brings Forward Artists' Perspectives on Migration

  • November 01, 2018 19:09

“…and when she went out it seemed to her that she too had migrated, that everyone migrates, even ...

Read More

Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur—For Freedoms

Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms Are Remade by Artists to Reflect America Today

  • October 28, 2018 22:43

Some 75 years after Norman Rockwell created his iconic Four Freedoms images in response to ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire