"Still" Life Millions

Log on today as our collectors get ready to view a rare event -- the upcoming sale of four paintings by Clyfford Still. Still was considered a founder of abstract expressionism, whose dynamic juxtaposition of "push & pull" colors created a new language of visual expression. During his lifetime, he refused to sell any of his huge canvasses. His will stipulated that the entire body of work could freely go to any city willing to build a museum to display them. The donation agreement forbade such amenities as a museum restaurant or auditorium, and did not allow the sale or loan of any works or the display of anything by another artist. Typically, museum bylaws hold that artworks cannot be sold -- or "de-accessed" -- except to purchase other acquisitions. They cannot be used to balance budgets, pay salaries or cover utilities — or to beef up an endowment, as the Still Museum plans to do. In this case, however, there is a technical loophole. The privately funded museum, which is set to open late this year, has not yet officially taken possession of the pieces. They were bequeathed to the city of Denver when Still's widow, Patricia, died in 2005. The museum petitioned a Maryland county court last year to permit the estate of Patricia Still, which has yet to be distributed, to release the four works early — before any formal transfer of ownership occurs. The four paintings will be sold at Sotheby's on November 9 -- just days prior to the museum opening -- and will likely fetch over $70 million. That is quite a profitable loophole for Denver, and should make for a very celebratory gala. Although our collectors are not bothered by a little dirt on their art, our daily content always strives to set things straight. Transparently yours, TEAMKABINETT