- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Dubuque library officials recently rejected a $6 million offer for one of their two paintings by renowned Iowa artist Grant Wood.

Trustees of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library say they have no intention of selling either painting by the artist best known for his work “American Gothic,” the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1Jv2PmX ).

The library’s two paintings by Wood - “Appraisal,” which was the subject of the offer, and “Victorian Survival” - are on loan to the Dubuque Museum of Art. The library acquired both in the 1930s for a total of $1,150 with funds that were left to it for purchasing art.

Library board President Jenny Weiss said the paintings are a source of pride for the library and the community.

“As long as the library owns ‘Appraisal,’ the Board of Trustees feels an obligation to ensure it remains a Dubuque treasure,” Weiss said.

Library Director Susan Henricks said she receives a couple calls a year with offers to buy “Appraisal,” which depicts a farm woman selling a chicken to a wealthy woman from the city. The most recent offer for the work came from the John Surovek Art Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida, on behalf of an unidentified client.

But Henricks wants to hold on to the art.

“Six million is a lot of money,” said Henricks, who estimates that’s equal to two years of the library’s budget. “But is it worth it to let a treasure like that go?”

Dubuque Museum of Art Executive Director David Schmitz said interest in Wood’s artwork has been growing in recent years. The museum has been getting more requests from other museums to borrow the paintings.

Schmitz said he expects the value of the paintings to keep increasing.

“There’s an inflated art market with quite a bit of money out there, and Wood’s works are scarce,” he said. “We are lucky in Dubuque to have two of his major works.”

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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