Michael G. Ben­nett, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of law at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law, who was in the court­room during the ruling, said, “Judge Rhodes seemed to be saying some­thing that amounted to a defense of the collection.”

A price tag on at least some of the pieces in the col­lec­tion is expected soon. The city’s emer­gency man­ager, Kevyn D. Orr, hired the auc­tion house Christie’s to appraise hun­dreds of selected pieces from the insti­tute, and those esti­mated values are expected to be made public as part of the bank­ruptcy case by mid-​​December.

In a talk with The Free Press’s edi­to­rial board after Tuesday’s ruling, Mr. Orr said that in “pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions” with Christie’s, it appeared that the market value of some of the best pieces in the col­lec­tion would be less than $2 bil­lion — a figure widely cited as a low esti­mate of the collection’s value — and that the appraisal could come in at less than $1 billion.

We will try to get some value from the art in some fashion,” he told the board, but he said that did not mean that there was any plan at present to sell any art at auc­tion. (Other pos­si­bil­i­ties for gen­er­ating money from the art could include using it as col­lat­eral for loans or charging to lend pieces out, although the museum has had little suc­cess in doing that in the past.) Mr. Orr, in his pre­sen­ta­tion to the news­paper, added, refer­ring to the art: “Let’s be clear. That’s a city asset.”

Mr. Orr has said pub­licly that museum offi­cials must “save them­selves” by finding a way to con­tribute money, pos­sibly as much as $500 mil­lion, toward the city’s debt relief.

Mr. Ben­nett, who has argued pub­licly against the sale of art, added that the ruling seemed to say that “even if sales from the insti­tute gen­er­ated a lot of money — let’s say $900 mil­lion or even $1 bil­lion — it’s still not going to solve the city’s problem in any fun­da­mental way, and it could end up con­tributing to more prob­lems down the road.”


Read the article at The New York Times →