Monday, January 10, 2011

Tell me again about the "public trust" (a continuing series)

Judith Dobrzynski has news of two more museums selling work, including the planned sale by the Art Institute of Chicago of a Braque, two Picassos, and a Matisse at Christie's next month. The combined high estimates come to about $15.5 million.

Here are two things we know about those five works:

1. Having fallen under the aegis of a museum, they were held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations . . . or at least until February. After that: not so much. Sorry present and future generations! Don't be so touchy about it.

2. Their sale will certainly NOT send a terrible message to potential donors. Nobody will say: "Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you're not going to sell this tomorrow?"

It's almost as if this whole "public trust" business is a bunch of b.s.