The Price We Pay

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt, 1868

Many years ago a friend and I attempted to visit The Delaware Art Museum. We drove up from Baltimore during the day and when we arrived at the museum, we found the building was closed because a protestor had chained himself to the front entrance to protest the DuPont Annual Meeting taking place inside the museum. Now, at that time in the early 1990's the DAM had the best collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the US and having just completed a thesis on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, I was anxious to see their collection - I never got to.

I read an article in the New York Times in August that the Delaware Art Museum was arbitrarily and against the advice of the American Association of Museum Directors, divesting themselves of many of the most important pieces in their collection based on monetary, rather than curatorial, decisions. My feelings about the museum came to the surface again, disappointment and disbelief.

The image above is the painting they sold which they anticipated getting upwards of 13 million for, but it only realized 4.2 million (before auction commissions) I wonder if they think it was worth it now. The word is that two more pieces of the collection will go up for sale soon to pay a debt incurred for a construction project, soon there will be less to adorn those new walls.