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Report: Detroit Art Collection Worth Up To $867 Million

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s city-owned art collection is worth up to $867 million.

Christie’s auction house has completed its final report on the value of about 2,800 city-owned pieces in the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York-based Christie’s announced the report was delivered Wednesday to Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, and that the art is valued between $454 million and $867 million.

That is slightly higher than a preliminary report.

That 2,800 figure represents only about 5 percent of the museum’s total collection of about 66,000 works. The city owns the DIA building and a portion of the collection, while daily operations are overseen by a nonprofit.

Tom Guastello, with the Oakland County Arts Authority explained Christie’s estimate does not include pieces donated to the museum.

“That art was given in a public trust and would not be auctioned off,” said Guastello. “So this appraisal was limited to the art that was directly purchased by the funds from the DIA, vis-a-vis the city of Detroit … so that’s why this art, this portion of the art, is smaller than the entire art in the building.”

There’s been much discussion about how Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing would impact the city’s opulent art museum.

While Orr has said he was not particularly interested in selling art, it’s his job to assess all of Detroit’s assets.

DIA officials say a forced sale would cripple the institution and cut-off $22 million dollars in funding from a voter-approved tri-county tax.

A mediator between Detroit and its creditors has asked foundations to raise $500 million to keep the artwork from being sold.   DIA officials said they’re open discussions but that the plan is untested and lacks specifics.

MORE: Donor Offers $5M To Help Protect Detroit Art

[Catch up on this story].

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