Penn. county considers value of library's prized Hassam painting

  • November 09, 2010 12:16

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"Summer Afternoon, Isle of Shoals" by Frederick Childe Hassam in the collection of Blasco Library, Erie Co., Penn.
ROB ENGELHARDT/ ERIE TIMES-NEWS

A public library in Erie County, Pennsylvania, may have a painting worth $5 million within its extensive art collection.

Last summer, a New York City art dealer, who saw the artwork in person, wrote a letter to an Erie County councilman suggesting that he might be able to sell Blasco Library's "Summer Afternoon, Isle of Shoals" by Frederick Childe Hassam for that seven-figure sum on the market today.

The library displays the Hassam on its second floor, under glass and with a security system.

Elected officials, librarians, and the local art community are weighing in on the sale proposal.

"You don't want to just sell off artifacts for dollars because beauty and art and aesthetics are important in a community, and you can't put a price on that," said Erie County Executive Barry Grossman. "But that must be weighed against the greater good all the time."

Among the other donated works in the library's collection, which were last appraised in 2006, are: "Venice," by Charles Warren Eaton, appraised at $4,240; "White Cliffs of Albion," by Edward Moran, appraised at $62,000; "The Contest," by Harry Mills Walcott, appraised at $160,000; and "Landscape," by Frank T. Hutchens, appraised at $37,100.

Read more at GoErie.com.

Tags: American art

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