Philly Museums Save Painting From Wal-Mart Sale

Eakins will remain in city after museums match heiress' bid
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 12:24 PM CDT
Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic. The painting will remain in Philadelphia after two city museums put up a last-minute counteroffer.   (Wikipedia)
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(Newser) – The saga over the sale of Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic came to an end yesterday when the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced it had raised enough money to cover the $68 million price tag. Eakins' painting of an operation in an anatomical theater was almost bought by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, but it will now remain in Philadelphia after a last-minute scramble for a competing bid, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Gross Clinic, considered a classic of 19th century American art, belonged to a medical college in Philadelphia. Walton offered $68 million and planned to display it in a museum she is building in Arkansas, but a public outcry led the city to broker an alternative sale. The painting will now belong jointly to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which both sold smaller Eakinses to finance the purchase.