an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Score One for Philly Philanthropy: “Gross Clinic” Stays

At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor John Street announced that an agreement of sale has been signed that will keep Thomas Eakins’ “The Gross Clinic” in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, the fundraising is far from over: The deadline to come up with the $68 million for the seller, Thomas Jefferson University, has been extended from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31, and Wachovia Bank has agreed to provide any necessary financing.
Round up the usual Philly philanthropists: Major contributors thus far include the Annenberg Foundation ($10 million), Gerry Lenfest, Joseph Neubauer and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($3 million each). They were among the more than 2,000 contributors from more than 25 states who have answered the call so far, according to Joe Grace, Mayor Street’s communications director.
The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Stephan Salisbury had reported earlier today, before the mayor’s announcement, that “firm contributions” to the campaign had totaled only about $30 million of the $68 million needed: “Speculation is running rampant around the whole funding drive, and museum trustees, city officials, cultural leaders and donors are increasingly nervous that the complex effort involving big institutions, tight deadlines and high anxiety could unravel.”
The Philadelphia Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will be joint purchasers of the painting, which will shuttle back and forth. It will be shown first at the former, “where it will be seen in context with Eakins and his contemporaries,” according to the Philadelphia Museum’s press release, just posted. Director Anne d’Harnoncourt, commented:
If the city of Amsterdam were faced with the potential loss of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” that community too would rally. Like “The Night Watch,” “The Gross Clinic” possesses a powerful national significance rooted in its home city.

an ArtsJournal blog