Super Bowl Art Bet

Super Bowl Art Bet: Gustav Caillebotte, Auguste Renoir, JMW Turner, Claude Lorrain
It’s long been a tradition for mayors and other representatives of rival American cities to make wagers on the outcomes of major, season-ending sporting events like the Baseball World Series and, in particular, the Super Bowl football game.

Last year, prompted by a dare from Modern Art Notes writer Tyler Green, two art museums from cities whose teams were in the Super Bowl made a bet of major art loans against the outcome of the game.

After the New Orleans Saints Beat the Indianapolis Colts in that game, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (see my recent post on the IMA) loaned a significant painting by JMW Turner, The Fifth Plague of Egypt (image above, third down), to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which had wagered the loan of Ideal View of Tivoli by Claude Lorrain (above, bottom).

The major museums of the rival cities involved in this year’s Super Bowl have taken this idea (and a terrific one it is) into its second year.

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittburgh has wagered the loan of Renoir’s Bathers with a Crab on a Pittsburgh Steelers win, while the Milwaukee Art Museum has put up Boating on the Yerres by Gustave Caillebotte, betting that the Green Bay Packers will take the trophy.

Personally, I think Pittsburgh stands to get the better end of the deal; though Renoir is considered to be the more “significant” painter, I’d take the Caillebotte any day. (A choice between the Claude and the Turner from last year would be harder.)

At any rate it’s great fun, and raises the visibility of the museums and their collections in the midst of an event usually far removed from the art scene; so both museums come out winners.

Here’s Tyler Green’s article about this year’s bet. I’ve included links to some other articles covering the wager below.


2 Replies to “Super Bowl Art Bet”

  1. What a fun post, Charley! I’d have to disagree with you in that it is harder to choose between this year’s bet paintings. However, I’d go for the Caillebotte as well. I did not know about the tradition of the Super Bowl Art bet-thanks for sharing!

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