Detroit tells Christie’s auction house: Go home

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Financially distraught Detroit is determined to keep hold of its historic artifacts, and art critics in the city are telling buyers with New York-based auction house Christie‘s: Go home. There’s nothing to see here.

Experts with the auction house have been seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Free Press reported. The DIA is home to some of the city’s most valuable assets, including the original Howdy Doody marionette. And some concerned about the city’s financial future see the museum as a cash cow to bridge budget deficits, estimated now at $18 billion, and satisfy terms of the bankruptcy.

City officials, however, as well as art lovers, say that plan’s a no-go.

Yet Christie’s auction house can’t keep away. Graham W.J. Beal, the museum’s director, president and CEO, said in the Free Press that it’s true — two from Christie’s came in June and appraised several works.

Judith Dobrzynski, a culture reporter, wrote on her Real Clear Arts blog that the auction house was acting like a vulture: “Shame on Christie‘s. Sure, business is business, but let’s remember here that it is not the Detroit Institute of Arts that has mismanaged the city and led to the bankruptcy. … Is Christie’s so hard up that it will take any business, no matter how reprehensible?”

And art critic Tyler Green tweeted that Christie’s “apparently hates Detroit,” the Free Press reported.

The Free Press said it’s not clear who invited Christie’s to the museum to appraise and review items.

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