The Lucas Museum bought Norman Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” from the troubled Berkshire Museum.
The cash-strapped museum in Western Massachusetts sparked controversy when it proposed deaccessioning some of its most prized paintings, including several by iconic American painter Norman Rockwell. At first, the sale of roughly 40 works was halted by two lawsuits, although a judge recently ruled the sale could proceed under certain conditions. The sale of Shuffleton’s Barbershop (1950) to an anonymous institution was announced in February, under an agreement that involved the Berkshire Museum and the state attorney general’s office. That deal, meant to prevent the Rockwell work from disappearing into a private collection at auction, required the purchasing institution to loan the painting to the Norman Rockwell Museum for 18 to 24 months, before returning to its original home, which has now been revealed to be the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. The Times reported that “The museum’s founder, George Lucas, of ‘Star Wars’ fame, is already known as the leading private collector of Rockwell’s work,” and owns “dozens” of Rockwells, most of which will eventually go to his museum.