Disputed Randolph College Works to Be Sold at Christies

Disputed Randolph College Works to Be Sold at Christies
The allegedly cash-strapped Randolph College will proceed with plans to sell four works from its collection at Christie’s, the New York Times reports. The college hopes to raise $32 million in an effort to strengthen its endowment and reduce its operating deficit.

The works are Edward Hickss Peaceable Kingdom (1840–45), George Bellowss Men of the Docks (1912), Ernest Henningss Through the Arroyo (mid-1920s), and Rufino Tamayos Troubadour (1945).

Randolph College had previously tried to sell the paintings at Christie’s in November 2007, but a group of alumnae, students, and donors obtained a court injunction to stop the sale. When the group was able to raise only $500,000 of a $1 million bond required by the court, the injunction was lifted.

The $500,000 that was raised is now the subject of dispute, with Randolph arguing in court that the delay of the sale has cost the college in unearned interest. A lawyer for the group opposing the sale counters, “The college has the paintings in their possession. We shouldn’t be giving them $500,000 on top of the valuable paintings they already possess.”

Another version of Peaceable Kingdom (Hicks painted 60) is also being offered at Christie’s as part of the oft-delayed fire sale of the collection of jeweler Ralph Esmerian, who owes Merrill Lynch nearly $200 million. Esmerian’s version carries an estimate of $6–8 million. Randolph’s, which is smaller and arguably more peaceable (in place of a leopard in the foreground, there are two children), is estimated to bring in $4–6 million.