The city is struggling to find ways to emerge from bankruptcy. One idea: sell the city’s art to save the pensions of city retirees. The Detroit Institute of Arts, or DIA, has faced serious financial difficulties over the years, and yet it holds the city’s most valuable assets: a world-class art collection that includes works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Matisse. Estimates vary, but Christie’s recently appraised these works at more than $850 million.
Because some of those masterpieces were bought with city funds, they could be auctioned off to pay creditors. “It’s the only source of money that exists in the city of Detroit,” philanthropist Paul Schaap says flatly. . . . .”