Letter: Art sale akin to selling 'the people's paintings'

To the editor:

I recently found this post from The White House Historical Association:

"On December 4, 1963, the family of John F. Kennedy donated the painting 'A Morning on the Seine; Good Weather' to the White House collection in memory of the late president. It was a testament to Kennedy's love for water and the outdoors, as well the president and first lady's mutual appreciation for 19th-century French artwork. The painting was created by the French artist Claude Monet in 1897, and is one of a series of river scenes that the Impressionist painted near his home in Giverny, France. The painting illustrates a scene along the calm Seine River, with reflections of trees and clouds on the surface of the water. ... As part of a sequence showing the river at different times of day, the Kennedy painting is a fine addition to Monet's masterworks, as well as to the White House Collection."

One wonders whether this painting and 39 others would ever be sold to finance a refurbishment of "The Peoples' House," or the White House? Would there be a public outcry? Protests in the street? I would like to think so.

I see the proposed sale of the Berkshire Museum's 40 pieces of art in the same light.

In 1983, I met Molly Rockwell and had the opportunity to sit and visit with her. During our visit, I asked which of her husband's paintings was her favorite. After a few moments in thought, she answered, "Shuffleton's Barber Shop." She loved the play of light and shadows in the painting. If you look closely, you will see a cracked window pane, as well as a cat and other surprises.

There you have it. Rockwell's family is against the sale. My feeling is that Norman and Molly Rockwell would be as well. He, in my mind, gave the paintings to Berkshire County, and it would be a travesty to sell them, regardless of the reason.

Is there any reason why the Berkshire Museum and the Rockwell Museum couldn't work together on exhibits and help to market each other? There has to be another solution to the Berkshire Museum's needs. That being said, am I the only one who feels this sale of art feels like a back-room deal?

Candis McDonough,



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