And the Mystery Buyer of Berkshire Museum Shuffleton’s Barbershop by Norman Rockwell is…Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

No surprise! Here’s the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art press release about the Berkshire Museum deaccession. George Lucas already paid a record breaking price– 46 million–back in 2013 for Saying Grace, one of his numerous major Rockwells. Shuffleton’s Barbershop could have surpassed that price; the market won’t know unless Lucas opts to sell it at a public auction some future date.

1950 Norman Rockwell syaing grace

(photo above – Norman Rockwell, Saying Grace, collection Lucas Museum Narrative Art)

Thirteen more Berkshire Museum works (including another Rockwell Blacksmith’s Boy – Heel and Toe) will be sold at Sotheby’s auctions beginning May 14, 2018:

  • John La Farge, Magnolia, 1859–60. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
  • Charles François Daubigny, Paysans allant aux champs (Le Matin). Estimate $70,000–100,000.
  • Henry Moore, Three Seated Women, 1942. Estimate $400,000–600,000.
  • Alexander Calder, Double Arc and Sphere, executed circa 1932. Estimate $2,000,000–3,000,000. (*oddly just one of a site specific commisioned pair for the Berkshire Museum)
  • Francis Picabia, Force comique, 1914. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
  • Adriaen Isenbrant, The Temptation of Adam and Eve. Estimate $150,000–200,000.
  • William Bouguereau, The Newborn Lamb, 1873. Estimate $1,500,000–2,000,000. (**November cover lot pulled from sale last fall)
  • Alberto Pasini, Faubourg de Constantinople, 1877. Estimate $700,000–1,000,000.
  • Adriaen Isenbrant, The Flight into Egypt. Estimate $150,000–200,000.
  • William Bouguereau, Les deux sœurs, 1884. Estimate $2,000,000–3,000,000.
  • Norman Rockwell, Blacksmith’s Boy – Heel and Toe, 1940. Estimate $7,000,000–10,000,000.
  • Frederic Edwin Church, Valley of Santa Isabel, New Granada, 1875. Estimate $5,000,000–7,000,000.
  • Rembrandt Peale, George Washington. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
  • Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, 1950. Acquired privately by a nonprofit American museum.
  • (the Vuillard and 25 more aren’t listed at this time)

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press release from Lucas Museum APR 11, 2018

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Lucas Museum Announces Acquisition of Norman Rockwell’s ‘Shuffleton’s Barbershop’

Museum ensures iconic masterwork remains in public view

Los Angeles, CA (April 11, 2018) – The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art today announced the acquisition of Norman Rockwell’s masterwork Shuffleton’s Barbershop. The 1950 painting, which had been in the collection of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA, has been the subject of considerable attention in recent months.

“As a museum dedicated to celebrating visual storytelling, we are honored to become the public steward of this major work,” said Don Bacigalupi, Founding President of the Lucas Museum. “Norman Rockwell is one of our nation’s most important storytellers, and this cultural treasure will continue to be seen and enjoyed by the public in an American museum, where it will be a source of inspiration for generations to come.”

The Lucas Museum recently broke ground and launched construction in Los Angeles, and is expected to open to the public in 2022. 

Shuffleton’s Barbershop, revered as one of the most iconic works of Rockwell’s storied career, will join an expansive collection of works by the artist, including Saying Grace (1951) and After the Prom (1957). 

These works will be featured prominently on public view to allow museum visitors to explore the power and importance of visual storytelling. The Lucas Museum will engage visitors of all ages in educational programs that highlight prominent examples of narrative art in a variety of mediums, periods and cultures. 

With the acquisition, the Lucas Museum announced a cross-country partnership whereby Shuffleton’s Barbershop will be on long-term loan to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for public display commencing later this year and extending into 2020. The Lucas Museum will also explore opportunities to loan the painting to other museums in Massachusetts and elsewhere in order to maximize public access to this beloved work of art.

“We are immensely grateful to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art for ensuring that Norman Rockwell’s masterpiece Shuffleton’s Barbershopwill continue to be available to and enjoyed by the public. We thank the Museum for generously loaning the painting to the Norman Rockwell Museum while the Lucas Museum is under construction in Los Angeles,” stated Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell Museum Director and CEO. “It is especially meaningful for the people of Berkshire County who will have the opportunity to enjoy this masterpiece for a few more years, knowing that it will remain in the public realm. We look forward to continuing to work with our friends at the Lucas Museum to create educational opportunities and appreciation of the narrative art of illustration, including ongoing collection-sharing.” Continue reading “And the Mystery Buyer of Berkshire Museum Shuffleton’s Barbershop by Norman Rockwell is…Lucas Museum of Narrative Art”

What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction

Justice Lowy’s JUDGEMENT was released April 5, 2018. The Museum may sell Shuffleton’s Barbershop, and — via Sotheby’s– the remaining 39 works free of any restrictions.

“The museum has satisfied its burden of establishing that is has become impossible or impracticable to administer the Museum strictly in accordance with its chartiable purpose, thus entitling the Museum to relief under the doctrine of equitable deviation. Accordingly the court allows the Museum’s request for equitable relief to sell the designated artwork.”

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Justice Lowy MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING

page 1 MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING Justice Lowy Berkshire Museum and AGO April 5 2018

Reaction from Sotheby’s Auction House:

“We are very pleased that the court approved the agreement reached between the Berkshire Museum and the Massachusetts Attorney General. We look forward to working with the museum to ensure a bright future for the people of Pittsfield and Western Massachusetts.” Judge Lowy’s decision came in just in time to meet the auction’s press deadline clearing for art sales this spring, else sales would have been pushed back till the fall at the earliest. The catalogue pages are ready from last fall’s prep.

Reaction from Elizabeth McGraw, President, Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees:

“This is great news for the people of Berkshire County and everyone who visits the Berkshire Museum for one-of-a-kind experiences in history, art, and science. We recognize this decision may not please those who have opposed the museum’s plans. Still, we hope people will be able to move forward in a constructive way to help us secure and strengthen the future of this museum, at a time when our community needs it more than ever. “

Reaction from Save the Art – Save the Museum (STA-STM)

“Save the Art-Save the Museum continues to oppose the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s art treasures and its unrestricted use of the resulting funds. We also regret the judge’s disregard of the public trust in which the museum held its collections. The impending sale will not only diminish Pittsfield as a city claiming to be of cultural import to Berkshire County, but will reverberate destructively for years through collections similarly held in trust throughout the state and country. As a group, we will make a more detailed statement after meeting in person to consider the loss to our community and its impact.”

Patiner flight into egypt featured in 1953 article celebrating Berkshire Museum 50th celebration
1953

Have a look back at an inspiring 1965 Berkshire Eagle profile about Berkshire Museum Director Stuart C. Henry, and an earlier feature from the Berkshire Evening Eagle, published Thursday, Aug. 20, 1953, heralding the Berkshire Museum’s 50th anniversary. Both convey the museum’s seamless blend of high art, science, community and education.

I wonder what happened to the marble swans over the Berkshire Museum elliptical pool designed by A. Sterling Calder, father of the sculptor, Alexander Calder, and resident of Richmond, Massachusetts, less than 20 minutes away from Pittsfield?  Continue reading “What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction”