To the editor:
As members of Norman Rockwell's family, we are very concerned that the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is planning to deaccession Shuffleton's Barbershop and have it auctioned at Sotheby's. We believe that this painting is one of Norman Rockwell's finest and should stay at a public institution, so that it can be seen.
When our father and grandfather gave the painting to the Museum in 1958 he wanted it to be appreciated by his neighbors in the Berkshires. Norman Rockwell didn't give it to finance the Museum's renovation plans. He gave it hoping the people of the Berkshires would see it and enjoy it. By auctioning off his gift, the Berkshire Museum risks the painting being lost to a private collector who won't share the painting with the public.
That would be a great loss. We hope the Berkshire Museum will reconsider how it treats the gift that Norman Rockwell gave to them and preserves this very special painting for future generations of museum-goers.
A related story runs today on Page A1.