Bill could force University of Iowa to sell Pollock painting at Figge valued at $140,000,000


Share
Originally Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011, 7:45 am
Last Updated: Feb. 10, 2011, 1:24 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
Related stories

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new bill requires the University of Iowa to sell its famed Jackson Pollock painting, which is worth tens of millions of dollars, to provide scholarships to undergraduate art majors, the legislation's main backer said Thursday.

Pollack's 8-by-20-foot "Mural," is the centerpiece of the university's art collection. The Iowa City Press-Citizen said it was valued at $140 million in 2008.

"If the core function of the university is to educate students, this could provide a $5 million a year endowment. It could let 750 to 1,000 students get a full-ride scholarship every year," State Rep. Scott Raecker told The Associated Press.

Raecker, R-Urbandale, is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He introduced the bill on Wednesday. He said he plans to check with university officials to see if the painting is actually used in art education.

Pollock is an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He died in 1956 at the age of 44.

The idea of selling the painting is sure to stir emotions in Iowa City, as it did when record flooding swamped 20 university buildings in 2008, including the university's Museum of Art.

Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Gartner suggested selling the painting to help pay for flood recovery on campus. The university campus and the art community rebuked the idea, and the regents decided against it.

The painting has been on display at the Figge Museum in Davenport because the university's art museum remains closed.

Faculty Senate President Ed Dove told the Press-Citizen that renewed suggestions to sell the painting are "shortsighted" because it is one of the university's best-known pieces and invaluable to education.

"Getting rid of that national asset, the Pollock painting, would be a disaster for the university," he said.

He said it would defeat the purpose of having an art school and art history department, and a museum of art.

Under Raecker's bill, proceeds from the sale would go into a trust, the interest from which would fund scholarships. The buyer would have to lend the painting to the university for three months at a time at least once every four years.

"The university will not be discussing this matter," said university spokesman Tom Moore.

Local legislatures have vowed the fight the bill.

"It's still a bad idea," said state Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat. "There is no need to have a fire sale here."

State Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, said he has spoken to Democratic Senate leaders, who control the chamber, and they said the Senate would oppose the bill if it passes the Republican-led House.

"There is a need for more scholarships, but this seems to be a cynical poke in the eye for UI," he said.

According to the University of Iowa Museum of Art's web site, Peggy Guggenheim gave the painting to the university in 1951. Guggenheim, a leading dealer of modern art in New York, died in 1979.

Related Stories














 




Local events heading








  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






(More History)