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Berkshire Museum Case: Selling into the Teeth of Controversy

Martin Gammon, Pergamon Art Group
April 9, 2018

One of the more depressing and distressing aspects of the ongoing saga of the Berkshire Museum’s recalcitrant march to auction, is that the board appears to be wholly ignorant of the significant headwinds they might face in the current marketplace. As such, not only are they sacrificing their greatest treasures on a barely defensible and dubious mandate, but they may well find that the proceeds fall short of their lofty expectations.

Of course, no one can say for certain how the market will react to these works until the ultimate fall of the auctioneer’s gavel, but the history of deaccessions we recount in our forthcoming book illustrates that almost every prior sale that occurred under a similar cloud of controversy yielded either pretty dismal results to outright spectacular failures.


A grassroots citizens group established in 2017 with the intent of stopping the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s treasured art collection in order to find an alternate solution to its continued financial shortfall.


The mission of Save the Art is to advocate for and protect the Public Trust — the art and objects belonging to all of us that document humankind’s creative and social history through time.


We thank the Berkshire Eagle for their extensive investigative coverage, the journalists, op-ed writers and our community for their hundreds of letters of concern. In particular, STA applauds Larry Parnass, Investigations Editor, Berkshire Eagle, for his excellent coverage of the Berkshire Museum and achievement of the 2018 Outstanding Journalism award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association.