The selloff begins…

The overall estimate — which Christie’s said would total between $454 million and $867 million — covers about 2,800 pieces, or less than 5 percent of the institute’s entire collection because Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, asked Christie’s to focus only on pieces that had been bought with city funds. The reasoning was that city-purchased pieces would be less subject to legal challenge if a sale were to occur.

Some of Detroit’s largest creditors have contended in court that the museum, which is wholly owned by the city, is not an essential municipal asset and that valuable works of art should be sold to help pay those who are owed. But the possibility of selling part of the city’s cultural patrimony has enraged many, who say it would be a betrayal and would hurt the chances of a Detroit revival.

via Report Sets Values on Detroit Institute Artworks –