Letter: Why not sell art by the yard?

Posted
To the editor:

Recently there has been a lot of controversy in the news over the fact that the Berkshire Museum intends to sell part of its art collection to finance certain projects. There have been many opinions expressed, pro and con, but I am dismayed that nobody seems to be asking the most important question of all: will they be selling these works by the yard or by the pound? I would suggest selling all paintings and drawings by the yard, and sculptures by the pound. This way one can easily estimate the value of a painting by consulting the New York/Paris Art exchange Index, which gives moment-by-moment updates on the current Rockwell dollar-per-yard rate as opposed to the — what was the name of that Frenchman? — Bouguereau rate. Similarly, the Museum can determine how much it can expect to rake in from a sculpture simply by weighing it and checking the dollar-per-pound tables. This, of course, does not take into account the income from a Calder work if the wire is removed and sold separately. I'm not sure if the Museum is planning on selling off any conceptual art, which would present a more complex problem. If necessary, I would suggest using the "mean foot-pound index." This can be determined by adding the length of the work in feet to the weight in pounds and dividing by two. I hope these suggestions will be helpful to the museum. I'm sure they will be useful to future donors, who will now be able to determine exactly how their gifts are valued.

Don Jordan

Lenox




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