On July 12, 2017, the Berkshire Museum announced that it would be selling 40 works of art from their collection to fund their endowment, capital improvements, and to pay down existing debt.

Following is a letter from members of the community who wish to see this sale halted and a list of works slated for sale. 

If you would like to add your name to the letter, please click here.

To learn more, you may also visit the SAVE THE ART page on facebook here


July 24, 2017
Elizabeth McGraw, President
Van Shields, Executive Director
The Berkshire Museum
39 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Dear Ms. McGraw and Mr. Shields:

We are writing to join those requesting that the Berkshire Museum reconsider the sale of 40 works of art from its collection. As artists and members of the cultural economy of the Berkshires, we know firsthand the impact that the visual arts has on our community. Many of us spent our youth in front of some of those very paintings, sparking our imaginations and our creativity, inspiring us to become artists and cultural workers. Others were introduced to the museum as adult art professionals, and our practice was enriched by its intersection of art, history, and natural science. It breaks our hearts to think that the next generation of young people and community members would be deprived of that opportunity.

As members and supporters of the Berkshire Museum, we understand the board and staff were faced with a difficult decision, and we all want the museum to grow and thrive and remain relevant. However, we strongly believe that the visual arts should be an integral part of that vision. As others have pointed out, monetizing these priceless and irreplaceable works of art is considered unethical and risks the future success of the museum, alienating the larger museum community and future donors.

Instead, we propose that the leadership of the museum think of these works of art not as a disposable asset but as a means to strengthen the mission and future vision of the museum, thereby garnering support from the arts community, whose devotion to the Berkshires has already been well proven. We would like to invite the leadership of the museum to meet with us and discuss how we might work together to create a stronger future for the Berkshire Museum that includes the visual arts.

If you would like to add your name to the letter, please click here.


List of Works Slated for Sale

1. ALBERT BIERSTADT
Connecticut River Valley, Claremont, New Hampshire
1868, Oil on canvas

2. ALBERT BIERSTADT
Giant Redwood Trees of California
Circa 1874, Oil on canvas

3. RALPH ALBERT BLAKELOCK
Rocky Mountains
Oil on canvas

4. WILLIAM-ADOLPHE BOUGUEREAU
L’Agneau nouveau-né (The Newborn Lamb)
1873, Oil on canvas

5. WILLIAM-ADOLPHE BOUGUEREAU
La bourrique (The Pony-back Ride)
1884, Oil on canvas

6. ALEXANDER CALDER
Dancing Torpedo Shape
1932, Wood, wire and aluminum

7. ALEXANDER CALDER
Double Arc and Sphere
1932, Painted wood, wire and sheet metal

8. FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH
Valley of the Santa Ysabel
1875, Oil on canvas

9. CHARLES FRANÇOIS DAUBIGNY
Paysans allant aux champs le matin
Oil on canvas

10. THOMAS WILMER DEWING
The White Dress
Oil on canvas

11. RAOUL DUFY
La Fête
Circa 1935, Watercolor on paper

12. GEORGE HENRY DURRIE
Hunter in Winter Wood
1860, Oil on canvas

13. PIETER DE HOOCH
The Music Party
Oil on canvas

14. GEORGE INNESS
Mountain Landscape – The Painter at Work (Leeds in the Catskills, with the Artist Sketching)
Circa 1867-1869, Oil on canvas

15. ADRIAEN ISENBRANT
The Temptation
Oil on panel

16. ADRIAEN ISENBRANT AND CIRCLE OF JOACHIM PATINIR
Flight into Egypt
Oil on panel

17. DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT
Girl with Dog
1866, Oil on canvas

18. JOHN LAFARGE
Magnolia
1863, Oil on panel

19. HENRY MOORE
Three Seated Figures
1942, Pastel, ink and pen on paper

20. THOMAS MORAN
The Last Arrow
1867, Oil on canvas

21. ALBERTO PASINI
Market Day in Constantinople
1877, Oil on canvas

22. CHARLES WILLSON PEALE
Portrait of General David Forman
Circa 1784, Oil on canvas

23. REMBRANDT PEALE
George Washington
Oil on canvas

24. FRANCIS PICABIA
Force Comique
Watercolor on paper

25. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
Portrait of Mr. W. Cave
Oil on canvas

26. NORMAN ROCKWELL
Blacksmith’s Boy – Heel and Toe
(Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop)
1940, Oil on canvas

27. NORMAN ROCKWELL
Shuffleton’s Barbershop
1950, Oil on canvas

28. AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS
Diana of the Tower
1899, Bronze

29. FRANKLIN SIMMONS
Penelope
1884, Marble

30. GIULIO TADOLINI
Judith
1881, Marble

31. GIROLAMO TROPPA
Apollo Flaying Marsyas
Oil on canvas

32. JAN VICTORS
Benjamin and His Brethren
Oil on canvas

33. EDOUARD VUILLARD
Deux femmes dans un interieur
Watercolor on paper

34. EDWIN LORD WEEKS
Indian Prince, Palace of Agra
Oil on canvas

35. BENJAMIN WEST
Daniel Interpreting to Belshazzar the Handwriting on the Wall
Oil on canvas

36. A FOLDING ‘TALE OF GENJI’ SCREEN
Japan, 16th Century

37. A TEN-PANEL COROMANDEL LACQUER ‘DAOIST IMMORTALS’ SCREEN
Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period, dated by inscription 1689

38. AN ARCHAIC BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, GUI
Early Western Zhou Period

39. A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON’ VASE
Qing Dynasty, Early 19th Century, Jiaqing-Daoguang Period

40. A LARGE BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN
China or Japan, 19th Century