Valparaiso plans to sell Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting to repair dormitories
The O’Keeffe painting, which depicts a landscape of New Mexico hills in blood-red hues, is the crown jewel of the Brauer collection and has been exhibited in Ireland, Spain and Canada. A sale is expected to bring in $7 million. The orange-tinted artwork by Church, one of the Hudson River School’s most successful artists, is valued at $1 million, and the university hopes to earn an additional $2 million by selling “The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate” by Childe Hassam, a coastal landscape. by a pioneering American Impressionist.
Schools usually run into controversy when they announce they will be selling artwork to raise funds, an act known as alienation. Several sales have resulted in sanctions from artistic associations. To settle a lawsuit, Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., reversed its decision to sell its artwork and close its museum, part of a plan it hatched in 2009 during the Great Recession.
Valparaiso’s desire to pay for the work on the dormitories with proceeds from the paintings was rebuffed. Students delivered dozens of letters opposing the sale to the president’s office, and 75 faculty members expressed their disappointment in another letter.
“The problem is that the whole process was secret,” said Ruff, who retired from teaching in July and is now a volunteer attendant at the museum’s gallery, where his wife worked for a long time as an associate curator and registrar.
The faculty senate resolution against the sale passed, 13-6, with two abstentions. Jennifer Hora, a political science professor who voted in favor of the resolution, said she fears that if the sale goes through, the wishes of future donors will not be respected: “My real fear is that none of this be a victory for anyone. ” One of the downvotes came from Sami Khorbotly, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, who said: “While we all appreciate art and respect it, I think we need to prioritize, and our students are our top priority.”
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