Report: Detroit-bought art worth as much as $866M - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Report: Detroit-bought art worth as much as $866M

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(WJBK) -

New York auction house Christie's estimates the fair market value of city-bought works at the Detroit Institute of Arts to be between roughly $450 million and $866 million.

Thomas Guastello, the Chairman of the Oakland COunty Arts Advisory and a board member of the DIA, says Christie's only appraised art that was purchased by the city - not art that was donated. He believes the appraisal was accurate. The auction house says the included art represented in the appraisal is about five percent of the museum's total collection of about 66,000 works.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more from Guastello in a report from Fox 2's Alexis Wiley

Guastello says museum executives are traveling around the country in efforts to persuade corporations, foundations and art lovers to either buying the art and donate it back to the museum, or purchase the naming rights. Both those options would generate cash and keep the art in Detroit.

The DIA released the following statement in response to Christie's evaluation:

"The DIA continues to maintain its position that the museum collection is a cultural resource, not a municipal asset, and consequently has no comment on the preliminary evaluation report issued by Christie's in response to the request from the Emergency Manager of the City of Detroit.

The Museum would like to draw attention, once again, to the formal opinion issued by the Attorney General of the State of Michigan that the Museum and the art collection are held in trust for the people of the City of Detroit and State of Michigan. The collection's true value is in the education and enjoyment of the public.

The DIA remains an essential anchor institution in the revitalization of Midtown Detroit and is critical to continued economic growth and community development in Detroit and beyond. The DIA remains hopeful that the Emergency Manager will, consistent with the City's fiduciary duty as a public trustee, continue to protect the Museum and the collection and oppose any attempts to force a sale, despite the position that some creditors have taken in a recent bankruptcy court filing. However, if the collection is jeopardized, the DIA remains committed to taking appropriate action to preserve this cultural birthright for future generations."

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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