The Detroit News confirms that Christie’s has been hired to appraise the Detroit Institute for Arts holdings. Now, before everyone freaks out all over again, let’s remind ourselves that there’s a battle going on between the city of Detroit and the region. The city values paying off its debts and meeting its obligations. The surrounding communities value DIA’s art collection remaining a centerpiece of the region’s culture and pride.
Everyone’s walking a fine line here and the game will play itself out over years, not months. To give you a sense of it, read this carefully worded statement from Christie’s:
When Christie’s employees walked through the museum last month, it touched off a storm of protest from the international art community, as well as local supporters of the DIA.
Christie’s indicates the appraisal will be complete by early fall.
Christie’s acknowledged the contract in a statement on Monday: “We confirm that Christie’s Appraisals Inc. was asked and has entered into an agreement to appraise a portion of the city-owned collection at the Detroit Institute of Art. In addition, we will also assist and advise on how to realize value for the city while leaving the art in the city’s ownership.”
The statement also said the auction house understands “ that a valuation of all the city’s assets (extending well beyond the art) is one of many steps that will be necessary for the legal system to reach a conclusion about the best long-term solution for the citizens of Detroit.”
“At Christie’s, we are passionate about art and understand the importance of the contribution that institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts offer to the community and the world at large,” read the Christie’s statement. “We are proud of our long history of support to museums, including the DIA. We want to continue to focus our efforts on being a positive force in both the interests of the City of Detroit and its arts community, including working with our fellow arts professionals at the DIA and with the city to find alternatives to selling that would still provide the City with needed revenue.”
EM Orr hires Christie’s to appraise DIA art (Detroit News)