JAMESTOWN – The James Prendergast Library board of trustees will hold an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon, Nov. 30, to determine how to proceed with six paintings in its classic art collection that failed to sell at auction earlier this month.
On Nov. 21 a total of nine paintings were auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York City, with three of the paintings selling for $507,750. However, six other paintings were not sold. Those paintings estimated value was $350,000 to $500,000.
Following the auction, Library board president Tom Rankin said that the library went with a reserve price for each of the paintings that was recommended by Sotheby’s, and the high reserve may have been what prevented the pieces from being sold.
The board will discuss what to do with the paintings that didn’t sell during its meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. That meeting is open to the public and some individuals in the community who are against the art sale could be on hand to urge the board to not sell the paintings. However, another news outlet has reported that Rankin has already stated the paintings will go back to auction and today’s meeting will focus on the process of selling them, not whether or not they should remain in possession of the library.
So far, 12 of the more than 2 dozen classic art paintings from the library have sold for a total of $846,000. The estimated value of the collection is $1.17 million.
The library has been faced with financial challenges in recent years due to a decline in donations from the community, as well as a reduction in aid from the city of Jamestown. In response, the library board made the decision to auction the vast majority of pieces in its art collection.