In what has become a fledgling tradition — started in 2010 at the suggestion of Modern Art Notes writer Tyler Green — major museums from the two regions of the U.S. competing in this years Superbowl have engaged in an art loan wager.
Each museum wagers a three month loan of a major artwork from its collection to the other museum on the outcome of the game. Ideally the works are chosen not only to be of comparable stature, but to be in some way related to the region represented by the museum and the football team.
This year, the Seattle Art Museum put up Albert Bierstadt’s Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast (above, top, with detail; high-resoluton file on Wikimedia Commons); and the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts countered with Winslow Homer’s West Point, Prout’s Neck (above, bottom two; high-resolution file on Wikimedia Commons).
So we have a pair of superb coastal landscapes, one of the Pacific Northwest, the other of the Atlantic Northeast.
We know who won, of course, and the Bierstadt will be traveling to Williamstown for a three-month loan later this year. Hopefully, both museums come out winners, as the friendly competition is meant to take advantage of the Superbowl media hype to point a bit of public attention to the fine art collections in both cities.
For more, see the before the game article on Art News, and my previous posts on past events (below).