Museums: Putting Pablo to the Vote

The pride of the Basel Museum of Art in Switzerland has long been two fine Picassos, Two Brothers (1905) and Seated Harlequin (1923). They had been on loan from the local Staechelin Foundation for 20 years. The museum more or less assumed that they were there to stay—together with a dozen impressionists and postimpressionists that, in the eyes of some collectors, are even more valuable. Unfortunately, last spring a plane belonging to a charter airline controlled by Peter Staechelin crashed, claiming 126 lives. As a result of lawsuits, the airline went bankrupt....

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