Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Big Eakins News

In the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning, Stephan Salisbury reports that Mayor John Street has withdrawn his nomination of The Gross Clinic for designation as a historic object. "In a one-sentence Dec. 14 letter to ... the Philadelphia Historical Commission, Street wrote that he was acting 'in accordance' with a Dec. 4 'settlement agreement' between the city and [Jefferson] university." The commission has canceled the two meetings that had been scheduled this week to review the nomination.

So it's down to the matching process now -- one week left to raise the $68 million required to match the sales price. Salisbury quotes Anne d'Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as saying: "I'm optimistic. I can't really go into any more detail. Things are moving very fast." Lee Rosenbaum talked to the major gifts officer of the museum, who says they are "well over 50% there" and that the museum is in the process of "closing some gifts" with "a lot of our nearest and dearest."

Lee adds that "the larger fundraising issue" is "whether the 'nearest and dearest,' feeling they've done their bit for art with this emergency rescue, may be less generous towards less high-profile but equally urgent cultural needs in the coming year."