To the editor:

We knew it would be terrible, but the proposed gutting of the Berkshire Museum art collection is even worse than we all imagined. That an American museum would propose to callously sell off 19 classic American works, mostly by distinguished Hudson River School and related artists, is unbelievable. But Executive Director Van Shields and the (misguided) trustees ask us not only to believe it, but to countenance it.

These 19 works enumerated in The Eagle would — and should — make up a dedicated gallery worthy of any American museum, and coincidentally a perfect venue for studies in American history, if real education is what the museum is after. But a little more information please; how many of these works came to the museum from Zenas Crane himself, his family, and his art-loving friends. Perhaps half, or more? Where is loyalty to the donor? What prospective donor will not take note?

Incidentally, the seven French works would make an excellent, high quality exhibit on their own as well. And one of them, by Daniel Ridgeway Knight, could be set in either gallery.

The local arts community, arts lovers throughout the region, and surely the art museum community at large join in asking again the this irremediable error be reconsidered.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,