Museums: Corporate Appreciation

Color most small museums green with envy when it comes to purchasing costly masterpieces. With gaping holes in their collections, they are long on aspirations, short on funds. Such was the case when the Milwaukee Art Center's director, Tracy Atkinson, found a fine Gustave Courbet portrait. Milwaukee had nothing by the early 19th century French realist, but the not unreasonable price tag in New York's Knoedler Gallery read $55,000.

It was goodbye to a good buy until an enterprising Milwaukee attorney, Roger Boerner, 37, formed a corporation called Art Appreciation, Inc., with 14 other enthusiasts. Pooling their shares, the corporation...

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