As has now apparently become par for the course, the tradition of museums betting art over the outcome of a big game is continuing this week leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. Last year, you might recall that the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art established a friendly rivalry along with a wager involving pieces by Claude Lorrain and Joseph Mallord William Turner. And to a lesser extent, in that nothing was changing hands, the two architecture critics from the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer, Blair Kamin and Inga Saffron, respectively, got into a battle over which city was architecturally better ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs (we won here in Chicago, of course). Now that the Steelers and the Packers are set to duke it out at the end of this week, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art have agreed to put their art on the line. If the Steelers win, the Carnegie will be loaned Caillebotte’s Boating on the Yerres. If Green Bay takes it, the Milwaukee Art Museum will get their hands on Renoir’s Bathers with a Crab. The two museums have issued a joint press release, with a few good-natured swipes thrown in for good measure:
“I’m confident that we will be enjoying the Renoir from Carnegie Museum of Art very soon. I look forward to displaying it where the public can enjoy it and be reminded of the superiority of the Green Bay Packers,” said [museum director Daniel Keegan] of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
“In Pittsburgh, we believe trash talk is bad form. We let the excellence of our football team, and our collection, speak for itself. It will be my great pleasure to see the Caillebotte from the Milwaukee Art Museum hang in our galleries,” said [director Lynn Zelevansky], of Carnegie Museum of Art.