DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – An art market advisory company says treasures in Detroit’s art museum eyed for sale by some creditors in the city’s bankruptcy could be worth $4.6 billion — but likely would fetch much less at auction.
Artvest Partners LLC also says a forced liquidation of 60,377 pieces in the Detroit Institute of Arts could bring in closer to $1.1 billion.
The report was commissioned by the city and the museum as ammunition against some Detroit creditors and will likely play a major role in next month’s bankruptcy trial.
The report also is broader than an earlier appraisal that placed the value of 2,800 city-owned pieces at between $454 million and $867 million.
Anne Marie Erickson, Chief Operating Officer at the DIA, says selling the art is easier said than done. She says the value of the art market is fluid — plus, there’s the litigation.
“Many people who gave works of art to the Detroit Institute of Arts did that with restrictions,” Erickson told WWJ Newsradio 950. “And those restrictions indicate that the art cannot be sold.”
“All of that will go into court,” she said, “and many of those works of art will come off the table; you won’t be able to sell them. They’ll either go back to the donor or be disposed of in another way.”
The state, private foundations and Detroit automakers have promised more than $800 million to bolster threatened retiree pensions while staving off a sale of the art.
This latest comes after, early this spring, Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes rejected a request from creditors for a court order allowing them hands-on access to DIA art.
The creditors are owed, in total, around $1.4 billion; and their attorneys claimed they needed to take the art down off the walls in order to more closely examine it and determine its worth.
Rhodes told creditors they were welcome to buy a ticket to the museum and view the art just like anyone else.
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