Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"A trade-off we were willing to make"

Stephan Salisbury has a story in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the Cello Player sale:

"The deal, some say, has soured what had been a heady community fund-raising effort to keep Eakins' masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, in Philadelphia - because now a leader of that effort has done precisely what many donors were upset about in the first place: sold a treasured painting in a secret transaction."

He puts the price at $15-18 million, and also confirms that none of the PAFA board members knows the identity of the buyer (an issue I touched on in this post).

Lee Rosenbaum has more here, defending her "radical conservative" position that "holding museum-quality works that are already in the permanent collection should be an absolute." She says "it would have been better to lose 'The Gross Clinic' to the publicly accessible museums (the National Gallery of Art and Crystal Bridges) that had offered to buy it from Thomas Jefferson University than it was to lose 'The Cello Player' to the private domain, as now appears to have occurred." But what if the facts were reversed and The Gross Clinic was in danger of being lost to a private collector but could be saved by the sale of The Cello Player to a publicly accessible museum like the National Gallery? In those circumstances, would we still be better off letting The Gross Clinic go?