The Delaware Art Museum has taken a lot of pain for its decision to try to raise $30m by selling art works. But none of that compares with the pain of seeing your most prized work, William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil sell for a fraction of what was hoped. Yesterday’s Victorian and 19th Century sale at Christie’s saw the work make £2.88m against an estimate that stretched as high as £8m. The low sale will undoubtedly raise serious questions about the museum’s strategy:
The lower-than-expected final sale price could mean the museum will be forced to sell as many as four works to reach its $30 million goal. Initially, museum officials said they hoped three works would bring in sufficient funds. The museum had hoped to sell the Hunt painting privately, but did not receive a high enough offer for it.
The other works slated to be sold have not been announced. But Winslow Homer’s “Milking Time” and Alexander Calder’s “Black Crescent” mobile have both disappeared from the Wilmington museum’s galleries and database.
Delaware Art Museum painting brings $4.25 million (Delaware Online)