$100m Cézanne deaccession

December 19 2014

Image of $100m Cézanne deaccession

PIcture: Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Institute of Arts may have successfully resisted efforts to flog off their art, but another Detroit institution has decided to take the moolah; the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Point Shores just outside Detroit accepted an unsolicited offer of a reported $100m for Cézanne's c.1904 "La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue du bosquet du Château Noir". The puzzle is, the Ford House hardly needed the money. Says the Detroit Free Press:

The Ford House, which is on solid financial footing and carries no debt, is using proceeds from the sale to create a special endowment for preservation, conservation and restoration of the collection — defined as the 1929 English Cotswold-style mansion designed by architect Albert Kahn, the landscape and gardens created by Jens Jensen and furnishings and objects inside the house.

The Ford House, which draws about 60,000 visitors a year for tours and events, has a separate operating endowment of $86 million.

Mullins said that the Ford House trustees received an unsolicited offer for the Cézanne painting in the middle of 2013 but at first turned it down. The buyer came back with a second offer that also was refused. Mullins said that when the buyer came back a third time, the seven-member board — comprised of six Ford family members and the family's lawyer — decided to discuss with a wider circle of family members the possibility of selling.

"This was really a once-in-a-lifetime offer," said Mullins. "The family thought it was a way to guarantee the estate would be taken care of the way Eleanor would have wanted."

In other Cézanne news, Christie's will soon sell the artist's “Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If” (below) from the estate of the emminent British collector Samuel Courtauld. The estimate is 'up to £12m'.

Personally, I'd rather have the £12m picture. Though it'll doubtless make more than that...

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