26 Days: All In The Family

Qing Dynasty BowlEarlier this week, a woman in Hong Kong paid $19.5 million for a Qing dynasty bowl that had been put up for auction by her own brother.

Yesterday, a 1954 Norman Rockwell painting hidden by the late cartoonist Don Trachte behind a fake wall in his Vermont home sold for $15.4 million. Trachte had successfully kept Breaking Home Ties from his ex-wife.

Together, that’s $34.9 million in art that people really felt strongly about holding on to — about half what’s needed to pay for The Gross Clinic.

Add to that Steve Martin’s Edward Hopper Hotel Window, which sold yesterday in New York to an anonymous bidder for $26.9 million, and throw in the pair of Russian porcelain vases just sold in London, and you have $68 million – the price of keeping the Eakins in its hometown.

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One Comment on “26 Days: All In The Family”


  1. […] · Cultural Hijacking Alert Upgraded to SEVERE: The Gross Clinic This may just be our kharmic kick for letting that Rocky statue back up there, but with the loud public outcry, immediate fundraising appeal and the shaming campaign of Thomas Jefferson University Trustees all well underway the countdown to preventing our Eakins masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, from leaving our city is ticking, fast. WHYY’s cultural blog coverage has provided invaluable insights into an iconic work that is indelibly integrated not only into the psyche of the learning institution whose Board secretly sold it down the Schuylkill but also forever burnished into the collective psyche of Philadelphia’s cultural heritage. A lecture highlighting the layers of meaning imbued in this painting and its potential hijacking is being hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art on December 3rd and 7th. They have also spearheaded the $68 million dollar appeal campaign, reported as reaching one third of its goal, ambitiously successful for three weeks of pleas. Viewing the painting in situ is free, do it soon, and while viewing it consider this fact: cultural institutions, museums, universities and libraries all face the same periodic financial dilemma in proposing to de-accession collection works to support their own financial needs. As an unspoken rule they don’t do it and the reason is simple. It is unethical, and it is that difference between right and wrong that should be enough. For a hospital and a medical college that question of ethics is thrown into an expensive grey area, and knowing that an incomprehensibly large pile of money is needed to keep this work in our city, for our city (some say the same amount would cover the school districts deficit) and that the ransom note’s clock times out on December 26, well, to save it may be nothing short of a Christmas miracle. […]


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