Late on Friday, Norman Rockwell’s heirs objected to sale of two of his works from the Berkshire Museum as the institution undergoes a transition from an art museum to a science museum.
The works were donated by the artist to the Berkshires but don’t seem to have contained the sort of legal restrictions that would prevent the museum from selling.
Instead, the lawsuit claims the sale violates the museum’s fiduciary responsibilities and that the trustees have over-stated the financial necessity provoking the sale.
With the works ready to be sold at Sotheby’s on November 13, a quick resolution will be necessary to either clear the works for sale or have them withdrawn before.
Here’s the New York Times on the purpose of Rockwell’s gift, according to his children:
“Norman Rockwell didn’t give it to finance the museum’s renovation plans,” they wrote. “He gave it hoping the people of the Berkshires would see it and enjoy it. By auctioning off his gift, the Berkshire Museum risks the painting being lost to a private collector who won’t share the painting with the public. “That,” they added, “would be a great loss.”
Rockwell’s Children Sue Berkshire Museum to Stop Sale of His Works (The New York Times)