To the editor:
George Lucas, the purchaser of Norman Rockwell's "Shuffleton's Barbershop," earned his wealth through the creation of the "Star Wars" movies. Therefore, he has the right to spend his money as he wishes.
A recent letter to this newspaper concerning the sale suggests that Mr. Lucas might feel a sense of satisfaction similar to that of the Nazis who looted Jewish homes of their art treasures. This comparison is not only patently unfair to Lucas it trivializes the horrendous suffering experienced by the Jewish population under the Nazi regime.
We have been wondering, though, if Lucas was aware of the painful, bitter and probably irreconcilable division of the art-loving community caused by the Berkshire Museum's ill-conceived decision to sell off this piece as well as other art works in its possession. Perhaps if further communication along this line could be pursued, a case could be made for retaining the work at the Norman Rockwell Museum. If so, an identifying label might include the information that "this painting is on long-term loan for the people of Berkshire County thanks to the generosity of George Lucas."
Otherwise, when the time comes for the so-called "compromise" to expire and the work is mounted in Lucas's new museum, we would hope, at the least, that additional information on the identifying label would be used as a reminder of the fact that "this painting originally was a gift of the artist for the permanent collection of the Berkshire Museum."