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Norman Rockwell Paintings Can Be Sold by Museum, Court Rules

Norman Rockwell Paintings Can Be Sold by Museum, Court Rules

About 40 people opposed to the selling of The Berkshire Museum's art to fund an expansion and endowment protest in front of museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Some of the works on the auction block include original paintings by Norman Rockwell, a resident of The Berkshires, who gifted the art to the museum decades ago. (Gillian Jones/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 November 2017 05:15 PM

The Berkshire Museum has the right to sell two Norman Rockwell paintings despite objections from Rockwell’s family, a Massachusetts court ruled Tuesday. 

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, museum wants to sell the paintings and others at auction in order to finance a $60 million “reinvention” that it feels is sorely needed in order to remain relevant and get people in the doors, CBS News reported. The Rockwell paintings depicting local scenes were donated to the museum by Rockwell, who lived in the area for 30 years.

The two Rockwell paintings the museum wants to sell are “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” and “Blacksmith’s Boy—Heel and Toe (Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop),” the Albany Times-Union reported.

The sale of these and other paintings in the museum’s collection deemed not central to its new mission is expected to raise $50 million, CBS reported. Twenty million dollars is needed for a building renovation and the rest would go toward an endowment to support the museum’s mission of an interdisciplinary program. 

Rockwell’s family, led by his grandson Tom Rockwell, sued the museum to prevent the sale of the Rockwell paintings, saying they were donated with the understanding they would be permanently displayed, but Judge John Agostini ruled Tuesday the sale could move forward and the family had no grounds to stop the sale.

An injunction to stop the auction also was denied.

“This may very well mean that timeless works by an iconic, local artist will be lost to the public in less than a week’s time,” Agostini said in his ruling, the Times-Union reported. “However, it is the responsibility of the court to act dispassionately and decide cases solely on the legal merits of the claims presented.”

Other museums, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, also operate in the local area.

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The Berkshire Museum has the right to sell two Norman Rockwell paintings despite objections from Rockwell’s family, a Massachusetts court ruled Tuesday.
norman rockwell, paintings, sold, museum, court
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2017-15-08
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 05:15 PM
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