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The biggest art-world headline of 2017 is probably, “Leonardo Gets Sold for $450 Million,” but the biggest art-world story of 2017 looks like the little Berkshire Museum’s quest to sell $70 million worth of art to finance a fool’s errand. It’s a story of a dissolute and destitute institution, legal intrigue, trustee mismanagement, and the spectacular collapse of a big auction. And it’s all wrapped in the cozy warmth of Norman Rockwell’s work.

Located in Pittsfield, Mass., the Berkshire Museum is an eccentric place. It houses in its Beaux-Arts building a fine aquarium, an ancient mummy named Pahat, Native American regalia, rare minerals, sculpture, fossils, and a small but superb collection of American and European painting. On the day it opened in 1903, its founder and early funder, paper manufacturer Zenas Crane, envisioned it as “a window on the world” for its largely rural, working-class audience. 

To read more on The National Review:

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*  Court Blocks Berkshire Museum’s Sale of Rockwell Works and Other Art

*  Berkshire Museum painting sales at Sotheby's New York, subject to court review


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