DETROIT (AP) — The fair market values of some of the most popular pieces in the Detroit Institute of Arts — including Bruegel the Elder's "The Wedding Dance" and a Van Gogh self-portrait — have been released.
Christie's auction house appraised about 2,800 paintings, sculptures, pottery and other city-owned artwork at the city's request. The list of the items and how much each would fetch at sale were released Thursday by the city.
"The Wedding Dance" is valued at $100 million to $200 million, while Van Gogh's "Self Portrait with Straw Hat" was given a price tag of between $80 million and $150 million.
State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr hired Christie's to do the work. Orr has said city-owned art in the museum can be considered an asset and could be vulnerable during a bankruptcy. He filed for bankruptcy in July, and federal Judge Steven Rhodes approved the petition Dec. 3.
The high values of some of Detroit's pieces are not surprising, said Charles Guerin, director of the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, New York.
"The art market has become a place to invest large sums of money," Guerin said. "Art is a commodity, especially when you get into those numbers. It's amazing somebody would even have $150 million to spend. There are a lot of wealthy people in the world who can look at $150 million as if it's chump change."
According to the appraisal by New York-based Christie's, the city-owned pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts are collectively worth between $454 million to $867 million. They represent about five percent of the museum's estimated 66,000-work collection.