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August 6, 2013

Christie's evaluation of art collection at Detroit Institute of Art is part of applying for bankruptcy, according to the city's emergency manager

van Gogh's Self-Portrait, DIA
Christie's auction house's evaluation of the art collection at the Detroit Institute of Art is part of the process of Detroit's eligibility for a municipal bankruptcy, the city's emergency manager Kevin Orr explained in a press release ("Christie's auction house hired to appraise city-owned pieces in Detroit Institute of Art," Associated Press for The Washington Post, August 6, 2013)
There has never been, nor is there now, any plan to sell art,” Orr said in a news release. “This valuation, as well as the valuation of other city assets ... is a step the city must take to reach resolutions with its creditors and secure a viable, strong future for Detroit and its residents.” 
The DIA told The Associated Press in a statement Monday afternoon that it would cooperate in Christie’s appraisal process, but pointed to a formal opinion by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette that said city-owned DIA pieces can’t be sold in a bankruptcy proceeding. He said in June that the artwork is held in a charitable trust for Michigan residents.
Diego River's fresco Detroit Industry
Founded in 1885, the DIA has more than 100 galleries in 658,000 feet and displays an art collection that features Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry fresco cycle (Gift by Edsel B. Ford) and Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait, "the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum collection" purchased by the Reinhardt Galleries for the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts, website). Here's a list of favorite pieces in the collection selected by the DIA staff. The museum owns five paintings by van Gogh. In addition to the four-wall fresco by Diego Rivera, the DIA also has a portrait of Edsel B. Ford by the 20th century Mexican muralist.