14 March 2009

Collateralized Chagall

(It isn’t just Brandeis anymore.)

In a cynical twist on Sir Duke’s remark, The Metropolitan Opera isn’t worried about posterity, they’ve got bills to pay now:

“We have no intention of giving up the Chagalls,” Mr Gelb says.

He seems to fancy that he’s found a sort of grey area. Hardly any more than an art museum could ‘liquidate’ its artwork to cover operating expenses — some have tried in the present difficulties, but it’s absolute unethical — the Met really has no business putting these up as collateral. “No intention of giving them up” is beside the point; lenders do not accept collateral on the borrower’s non-intention to yield it up in the event of default.

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