Detroit Institute of Arts pieces valued as high as $867 million

Detroit Institute of Arts pieces valued as high as $867 million
"The Thinker," a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, is seen outside the Detroit Institute of Arts. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Works of art at the Detroit Institute of Art have been valued as high as $867 million in a report from the auction house Christie's that was officially delivered to the city Thursday.

The valuation only covers those pieces that were purchased by the city, or roughly 5% of the museum's collection of 66,000 works.


Christie's said in its report that the fair market value of city-owned art at the museum has a range of $454 million to $867 million. The report covers approximately 2,800 pieces of art in the DIA collection.

Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in July, faces at least $18 billion in debt. Some city officials have supported selling works of art in the DIA to help the city pay off its debt.

A group of the city's creditors -- including a number of European and American financial institutions -- asked the city to cooperate in assessing the value of the art in the museum's collection.

But DIA leaders and others in the museum world have opposed selling any of the works, arguing that the art is a public trust.

Christie's has outlined a few alternatives to selling the DIA art, including using the art as collateral for a loan or a line of credit, or leasing the art to other institutions on a long-term basis.

The DIA is regarded as one of the top art museums in the country, with pieces dating from the Renaissance to the 20th century.