- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Randolph College has sold an important piece of its art collection to Britain’s National Gallery for $25.5 million.

College President Bradley Bateman announced the sale of the 1912 George Bellows painting “Men of the Docks” on Thursday. The National Gallery planned to display the painting immediately.

“We feel very good about that for many reasons,” Bateman told The News & Advance (http://bit.ly/1d1RfNC ). “It is very important to everyone that it not disappear into a private collection.”

It’s the first piece by a major U.S. artist acquired by the London gallery, which says it has a less important U.S. work that is rarely displayed.

“We look forward to giving the work a place of honor in our rooms and to maintaining the ties we have now established with Randolph College,” gallery director Nicholas Penny said in a news release.

As part of the deal, the National Gallery will provide educational benefits to Randolph College students. The institutions are making plans for National Gallery staff members to lecture at the private college in Lynchburg, and to establish an internship program in London for Randolph students. Randolph study-abroad students will get special access to the museum’s permanent installation and classes held at the gallery.

This is the first such special relationship between a U.S. college and the gallery, Bateman said.

“Men of the Docks” was one of four valuable paintings in the Randolph Collection that the college planned to sell in 2007 to boost its endowment. Opponents who believed any proceeds should benefit the Randolph art collections obtained an injunction blocking the sale, but the lawsuit was eventually dropped. The injunction was lifted, and the 1945 Rufino Tamayo painting “Troubador” was sold at Christie’s in New York for more than $7.2 million.

Bellows, born in Columbus, Ohio in 1882, moved to New York and joined a group of young artists who were depicting the rapidly growing metropolis in all its grimy energy. “Men of the Docks” features a scene of laborers gathered on the New York City waterfront on a winter day.

The artist exhibited the painting at what was then Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1920. The school bought the painting directly from Bellows at that time.

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Information from: The News & Advance, http://www.newsadvance.com/

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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