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Abby Aldrich Rockefeller wrote a will a year before her death in 1948. She
left the Modern four important drawings, two by van Gogh and two by Seurat,
that have become among the most prized works in its collection, but the
bequest was subject to a curious stipulation.
After 50 years, when in Mrs. Rockefeller's estimation the drawings would no
longer be considered new, the will specified that the Modern had to give the
works to specific rival institutions that did not have the same exclusive
commitment to art of the moment. The van Gogh's are valued at more than $40
million - they went to the Met. The Seurat's, together worth about $1.5
million were shipped to the Art Institute of Chicago...
... in 1947, three New York museums, the Met, MOMA and Whitney went through
a period of transition... it ended up that the Met would be devoted
primarily to the 'visual arts of the past' and the Modern to the
'encouragement and study of the visual arts of the present and recent past."
Then the Modern could sell older works to raise money to acquire new works.
The agreement made definite distinctions between modern and classic art.
Modern was "any painting, drawing, print or sculpture by a living artist
which is still significant in the contemporary movement in art." classic
included "all other paintings, drawings, prints or sculpture which have
become part of the cultural history of mankind."
Hey - I know I'm not Mike - but I thought someone might be able to use it in