Christie's Auction House estimates DIA art worth as much as $870 million

DETROIT (AP) - New York auction house Christie's estimates the fair market value of city-bought works at the Detroit Institute of Arts to be between roughly $450 million and $870 million.

Christie's disclosed the estimate Wednesday in a release announcing it submitted a preliminary report to Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

The auction house says the included art represents about five percent of the museum's total collection of about 66,000 works.

Christie's has been conducting an appraisal for the city.

A judge Tuesday ruled Detroit is eligible to fix its finances in bankruptcy, and some creditors seek a role in determining whether art could be used to raise money.

The auction house says it's recommending alternatives to selling the art that could generate value in a full report later this month.

STATEMENT FROM THE DIA:

The DIA continues to maintain its position that the museum collection is a cultural resource, not a municipal asset, and consequently has no comment on the preliminary evaluation report issued by Christie's in response to the request from the Emergency Manager of the City of Detroit.

The Museum would like to draw attention, once again, to the formal opinion issued by the Attorney General of the State of Michigan that the Museum and the art collection are held in trust for the people of the City of Detroit and State of Michigan.

The collection's true value is in the education and enjoyment of the public. The DIA remains an essential anchor institution in the revitalization of Midtown Detroit and is critical to continued economic growth and community development in Detroit and beyond.

The DIA remains hopeful that the Emergency Manager will, consistent with the City's fiduciary duty as a public trustee, continue to protect the Museum and the collection and oppose any attempts to force a sale, despite the position that some creditors have taken in a recent bankruptcy court filing. However, if the collection is jeopardized, the DIA remains committed to taking appropriate action to preserve this cultural birthright for future generations.

VIEW PRELIMINARY REPORT BELOW:

Statement_Christie's Preliminary Appraisal for City of Detroit

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