Return of the Magnificent 7: Healy halts Sotheby’s from selling Berkshire Museum art
For now, PASS!
On Friday November 10, 2017, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy responded to Judge Agostini’s November 7th decision greenlighting Sotheby’s sale. The Massaschusetts AGO appeal reversed the decision, ultimately procuring an injunction from Judge Trainor, Massachusetts Appeals Court. This 11th hour move will not be the last word on the case, though it scuttles any scheduled sale prior to December 11 (with allowances for extensions to build the case.)
Meanwhile, on Monday, November 13, 2017, collectors can purchase Martin Johnson Heade’s Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds and 76 major American paintings at Sotheby’s. The Sotheby’s sale originally featured 84 lots. Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop, and 6 more of the Berkshire Museum 40, will not be sold, yet.
No bidding No sales for these 7 Berkshire Museum Sotheby’s lot 10 – lot 16:
repeating breaking news post last night:
- 11/10/2017 Motion for stay under M.R.A.P. 6(a) filed by Maura Healy.
- 11/10/2017 Memorandum of law in support filed for Maura Healy
- 11/10/2017 Record Appendix Volume I filed by Maura Healy
- 11/10/2017 Record Appendix Volume II filed by Maura Healy
- 11/10/2017 IMPOUNDED Record Appendx filed by Maura Healy
- 11/10/2017 Response to Motion to Stay, filed by Tom Patti, Tom Patti Design LLC.8
- 11/102017 Motion to exceed page limit filed for Trustees of Berkshire Musuem by Attorney William Lee.
- 11/10/2017 Opposition to Motion to Stay, filed by Trustees of Berkshire Musuem.
- 11/10/2017 Supplemental Record appendix filed for Trustees of Berkshire Musuem
- 11/10/2017 ORDER: The motion for a stay pending appeal pursuant to Mass. R. App. P. 6(a) from the November 7, 2017, order of the Superior Court denying the request for a preliminary injunction, is allowed. The Attorney General’s Office shall forthwith file a notice of appeal in the Superior Court if it has not already done so. The Attorney General’s Office shall file a status report on or before December 11, 2017, regarding the status of the appeal. (Trainor, J.). Notice/attest/Agostini, J.
- 11/10/2017 ORDER: After reviewing the parties’ submissions, the request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendant, Trustees of the Berkshire Museum from selling, auctioning, or otherwise disposing of any of the artworks that have been listed for auction commencing on November 13, 2017, is allowed. The balance of the risk of irreparable harm to the petitioner and the respondent in light of each party’s chance of success on the merits weighs in favor of the petitioner. Packaging Industries Group, Inc. v. Cheney, 380 Mass. 609, 615-617 (1980). The injunction shall expire on December 11, 2017. Prior to the expiration of the injunction, the Attorney General’s Office may move to extend the injunction with a date certain by which the investigation will be completed. (Trainor, J.). Notice/attest/Agostini, J.
Earlier this week:
On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, lawsuits including one from the Massachusetts Attorney General Office that were aimed at halting the Berkshire Museum firestorm sale of its most notable artworks via Sotheby’s auction house were denied. The first of several auctions to include art from the Berkshire Museum is slated for November 13th. (Additional Sotheby’s sales with Berkshire Museum art are scheduled into 2018.)
Those favoring the sale were confident in their defense. Those opposed were praying for the Massachusetts Attorney General to appeal this decision.
The Massachusetts Attorney General office had no response until November 10, 2017. Despite a media swirl, there were no tweets related to this topic, instead:
- the week’s elections;
- the #AccessBillMA;
- a single happy arts and culture related item (“@MassAGO Thank you to the
#BunkerHill Monument Association, established 1823! Joined us yesterday and recognized me as a Lifetime Honorary Member. #Charlestown”);
- and consumer complaints and resulting lawsuit brought against a dastardly contractor. I wonder how many consumer complaints came in related to the Berkshire Museum–granted non profit status by the Commonwealth–channeling 30+ million permanently out of the state?
The Berkshire Museum
The Google profile for “Berkshire Museum” still leads with “art” in its description. (Crossing fingers that ‘Suggest an edit’ will not be necessary.)
The Berkshire Museum homepage is now sporting its “A New Vision” branding. Note “Arts” has moved from first to third place*.
*Although its mission on the “About” page of the website (as of November 8, 2017) has not been scrubbed. “Art” leads the connections: “Bringing people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among art, history, and natural science.”
Prior posts about this controvertial art sale on Good Morning Gloucester:
Nov 10 Attorney General Appeals @BerkshireMuseum Judge Agostini Decision, & Sotheby’s Sale is Halted (for now)