The struggling Berkshire Museum was recently given approval to sell paintings from its collection in order to keep its doors open. The approval was granted by Supreme Judicial Court Justice David Lowy.
The museum’s plan to sell pieces of its collection to raise funds for building improvements and a shift in focus was met with much opposition. Among those who opposed the sale of the artwork were relatives of renowned painter Norman Rockwell, whose artwork was featured in the museum’s collection.
Michael Keating, the lawyer representing Rockwell’s family, expressed his hope that the museum would uphold Lowy’s suggestion that it “sell art in ways which preserve public access,” according to artnet News.
Rockwell’s paintings Blacksmith’s Boy — Heel and Toe, also known as The Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop, and Shuffleton’s Barbershop are among the pieces being sold to raise funds. Shuffleton’s Barbershop has reportedly been sold to another unidentified museum in the United States.
Blacksmith’s Boy — Heel and Toe has been put up for sale at Sotheby’s and is estimated to sell for as much as $10 million, according to ARTnews. Rockwell’s painting of two blacksmiths competing at forging horseshoes will end the sale on May 23.
The Berkshire Museum is allowed to sell up to 40 pieces of artwork, with the goal of reaching $55 million. This is in keeping with the approved agreement reached between the Massachusetts attorney general and the museum.