Save the Art – Save the Museum has helped to achieve a major goal of saving the Berkshire Museum’s 40 most valuable artworks from immediate auction. We re-dedicate ourselves now that the issue is before the courts, and will continue our efforts to SAVE THE ART and SAVE THE MUSEUM for ours and future generations.
Catherine Ryan, Good Morning Gloucester Blog March 22, 2018
BOSTON – In 2017, the Berkshire Museum was sued multiple times because of the possible sales of 40 works of art at public auctions. The art has long left the building. The winning consignor, Sotheby’s auction house, received all property prior to the 2017 public announcement from museum leadership blowing its “New Vision” horn. The art remains on hold at Sotheby’s.
At high noon on March 20, 2018, in Courtroom 2 of the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, Justice David Lowy presided over the ongoing Berkshire Museum deaccession litigation. Four attorneys, two for each side, were summoned before the Massachusetts Supreme Court to argue positions. Justice Lowy began the hearing by addressing the elephant in the room. He announced that because the Attorney General Office and the Berkshire Museum, former adversaries, petitioned the court together for necessary relief, he thought it was important to hear opposing views. Therefore, he invited amici to present their arguments, too.
Those, like me, who were caught off-guard by the astonishing deal (now awaiting court validation) cut last month by the Berkshire Museum and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey feel justifiably blindsided by the AG’s about-face. With scant explanation, she pivoted from a seemingly adversarial stance towards the museum’s deaccessions of the cream of its collection to acceptance of the shameful sell-offs, notwithstanding the fact that they would run afoul of professional standards and would violate what the AG had deemed to be restrictions prohibiting sales of about half of the 40 deaccessioned works.
Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle, March 20, 2018
PITTSFIELD – As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Maura Healey and her staff routinely face off against private law firms.
Rarely do they know their adversaries as well as they do the lawyers of WilmerHale, the powerful Boston firm that fought Healey’s office for months over its investigation of the Berkshire Museum’s proposed art sale.
Maria Garcia, wbur 90.9, The ARTery March 20, 2018
BOSTON – Residents opposed to the sale of artwork by the Berkshire Museum, in a final attempt, asked the state Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday to stop the transaction, or at the very least appoint a museum management expert to oversee the process.
The case is a precedent-setting dispute that could break an essential tenet of art stewardship for museums across the United States.
BOSTON – The jurist able to greenlight Berkshire Museum art sales gave both the institution and its critics reason for hope in a one-hour hearing Tuesday.
Justice David A. Lowy said that sentiment aside, the essential question before him — in the museum’s petition to sell up to 40 works of art — is whether it would be “impracticable” for the 115-year-old Pittsfield museum to continue without an influx of $55 million.
BOSTON – The battle over the Berkshire Museum’s controversial plan to sell artworks from its collection, including two important Norman Rockwell paintings, in order to pursue what its leadership terms a New Vision, has been long and grinding.
But on Tuesday, at the John Adams Courthouse in downtown Boston, the fight may have finally entered its final round. At a hearing in the afternoon, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the museum asked Justice David Lowy of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court to sign off on a deal they had previously reached, while attorneys for plaintiffs who had filed to block the sell-off made a last-ditch attempt to have the agreement rejected, scaled back, or modified.