Sotheby’s begins sale of Berkshire Museum artwork

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. The first two of 13 works of art to be sold this month to benefit the cash-strapped museum were sold at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Monday night in New York. (

The first two of 13 works of art to be sold this month to benefit the cash-strapped Berkshire Museum went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Monday night in New York.

The two pieces — "Three Seated Women," by Henry Moore, and "Force Comique," by Francis Picabia — combined to sell for $1.16 million.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield wants to raise $55 million to stay open. The sale of up to 40 works was approved by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in April. Museum officials hope to raise the funds through the sales at Sotheby’s and the private sale of Norman Rockwell’s "Shuffleton’s Barbershop" to a nonprofit U.S. museum.

"Three Seated Women" fetched $240,000, well below the pre-auction estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. The 1942 pencil, wax crayon, charcoal, wash and pen and ink on paper work was donated to the Berkshire Museum in 1992.

"Force Comique," fell in the middle of its pre-auction estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million and sold for $920,000. The watercolor, pencil and pen and ink on paper piece was donated to the Berkshire Museum in 1965.

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