WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Delaware Art Museum will need to sell more paintings?

I posted in a previous blog about how auctions are not necessarily living up to expectations.

Whether works of art or other collectibles, such as stamps.

Two immediate examples with a Delaware connection:

That prized, unique 1856 British Guiana one-cent, Black on Magenta stamp - owned by the late eccentric John duPont, convicted in the murder of Olympic wrestler David Schultz - was auctioned off for nine-and-half million dollars. Yes, an incredible sum for a mere scrap of paper, billed as the most expensive man-made object ever sold (by size & weight). But, that sum fell short of projections: $10 to $20 million. No matter that probably every stamp collector in the world covets that scrap of paper. (I learned about it at a very early age.)

Then, the Delaware Art Museum's "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" was auctioned for four-and-quarter million dollars at Christie's. Again, a significant sum, but falling far short of initial projections: $8.4 million to $13.4 million.

If that trend continues, the art museum would have to sell four or more works to achieve its fundraising goal of thirty million dollars.

The museum may also be a victim of its own publicity. If would-be buyers assume the embattled museum HAS to sell, lower bids are probably inevitable. And some art enthusiasts with big wallets may nevertheless steer clear of these works, given the controversial circumstances of their sale.

Looks like the board members overseeing the art museum will draw yet another round of criticism.

You can hear my interview with Jeffrey Fuller, accredited senior art appraiser in Philadelphia, who's been in the business about four decades...

Audio Here

Posted at 8:25am on June 18, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Jun 18, 2014 9:13am
Am I the only one who finds the art museum's lackluster sale riotously funny? At this rate, the museum won't have any art to display, and the museum will be taking donations off parents' refrigerators to display.

Close the museum. There are plenty of other options 40 minutes from here in Philly. Delaware isn't a big cultural mecca.

Wed, Jun 18, 2014 4:55pm
Just have the federal government divert 1% of the funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That'll close the gap easily.

Wed, Jun 18, 2014 4:57pm
So did Nancy Schultz get a cut from the postage stamp owned by her husband's killer?

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 18, 2014 5:37pm
Maybe a partnership with Philly's museum.

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 1:33am
Actually the Delaware Art Museum represents a unique exhibition, featuring the local influence upon the national art scene. The same paintings in any other location, would not carry that lesson.

The Philadelphia School was a group of painters from which the main flow of art branched and took off. Imagine a tree with big branches and an offshoot grows into the main trunk.

Though named the Philadelphia School, most were residents from the Brandywine Valley in both states... As today, where culture from places other than New York or Los Angeles gets put down, so did everything then not originating from New York or Washington back then.

However, those two influences in art were dead-ends... Photography put them in the ground. The Philadelphia School, however, carried painting forward as filling the void photography could not cover....

Many of the magazine covers with which we were familiar came from this group....

This bit of history would not be represented and would be forgotten, if this museum closed... or its collection were scattered across the globe....

It has a very important role to play in the uniqueness of Delaware's artistic culture....

Don't take my word for it. Visit it... It is cheapest on Sundays between 12--4....

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