Rockwell's 'Shuffleton's Barbershop' To Be Displayed In Berkshire County Next Month

May 17, 2018

A Norman Rockwell painting sold by the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to one in California will be on display locally next month.

"Shuffleton's Barbershop," with an estimated price tag of $20-30 million, is the most valuable piece of art the Massachusetts museum offered for sale as part of its controversial plan to raise money. It's looking to come up with $55 million museum officials say they need to fund renovations and stay open.

The painting will be on loan to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge until 2020. The arrangement is part of a purchase deal between the Berkshire Museum and and the yet-to-open Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles.

"We're very happy that they decided that, for sure, " said Jeremy Clowe, a spokesman for the Rockwell Museum. "That shows they believe in what we're doing and in our mission to share Norman Rockwell's work, and that we'll care for the picture."

This announcement comes the same week the Berkshire Museum auctioned off three other pieces of art from its collection. On Monday at Sotheby's in New York, Henry Moore's 1942 drawing, "Three Seated Woman," valued at between $400,00 and $600,000, sold for $300,000 after some fees were figured in. Francis Picabia's 1914 watercolor "Force Comique," fetched $1.19 million including fees, right at the high end of its estimated value. And on Wednesday, Alexander Calder's 1932 sculpture "Double Arc and Sphere" sold for just over $1.2 million, well below its estimated value of $2-3 million.

As for the private sale of "Shuffelton's Barbershop" to the museum co-founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, the selling price has not been made public.

Ten more pieces are slated for auction next week, including another Norman Rockwell, "Blacksmith's Boy--Heel and Toe."

After a months-long legal battle, the Berkshire Museum struck a deal with the Massachusetts' attorney general's office this year to sell up to 39 pieces of art. The agreement, approved last month by the state's Supreme Judicial Court, has upset some in the Berkshires and others in the art museum industry.