Berkshire Museum's Green Light To Sell Artwork Meets With Disappointment

Apr 6, 2018

A group opposed to the sale of artwork by the Berkshire Museum calls a judge's decision on Thursday that the museum could proceed "terribly disappointing" and says most of it could end up out of public view.

A Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice ruled that the Berkshire Museum could sell $55 million worth of artwork.

He ordered that one painting -- "Shuffleton's Barbershop" by Norman Rockwell -- be sold to another U.S. museum and displayed prominently. The rest can be sold to the highest bidder.

Carol Diehl is a spokesperson for Save The Art - Save the Museum.

"We continue to oppose the sale of the Berkshire Museum's art treasures," Diehl said. "And we regret the judge's disregard of the public trust. Those pieces were donated to be kept in stewardship by the trustees."

Diehl said she's concerned that many of the works of art will go into private collections. 

Attorney Michael Keating, who represented museum members opposed to the sale, said a deal is already in the works for "Shuffleton's Barbershop."

"Apparently, the museum and the attorney general have approved a transaction which hasn't occurred yet," he said. "There's speculation that it could be the Lucas Museum, which is being constructed in Los Angeles now, or it could also possibly be the museum that's down in Arkansas that the Walmart family has. I think that work of art has now been committed."

A spokeswoman for the Berkshire Museum said only that an American nonprofit museum is making the purchase.