Bankrupt Detroit Assesses Its Art Treasures

PHOTO: Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van GoghThe Detroit Institute of Art
Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh

intro: As the city of Detroit searches for creative ways to pay off its massive debts, staff at the world renowned Detroit Institute of Art is worried their collection could be in jeopardy.

Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced Monday that the city has hired New York auction house Christies to appraise some of the masterpieces in the museums 60,000 piece collection. The city of Detroit owns all the art in the museum.

Museum Director Graham Beal says the state of the city-owned collection has been a concern for months, especially after a visit from Christies appraisers back in May.

"The creditors aren't interested in the future of Detroit, they just want their money back," Beal told ABCNews.com.

Orr said in a statement that the decision to bring in Christie's came at the request of creditors, who the emergency manager is working with to ease the city's $18 billion debt. But Orr insists that "There has never been, nor is there now, any plan to sell art."

Here are 12 masterpieces on display at the Detroit Institute of Art.

quicklist: 1 title: Self-Portrait, Vincent van Gogh text: Self-Portrait, Vincent van Gogh, 1887, oil on artist board, mounted on wood panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value: $60 million.

media: 19886013

quicklist: 2 title: Saint Jerome in his Study, Jan van Eyck text: Saint Jerome in his Study, Jan van Eyck, 1442, oil on linen paper on oak panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value: $50 million.

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quicklist: 3 title: The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli text: The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

media: 19885972

quicklist: 4 title: Portrait of Postman Roulin, Vincent van Gogh text: Portrait of Postman Roulin, Vincent van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

media: 19885982

quicklist: 5 title: Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh text: Bank of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh, 1890, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

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quicklist: 6 title: The Window, Henri Matisse text: The Window, Henri Matisse, 1916, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated valued: $150 million.

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quicklist: 7 title: The Conversion of the Magdalen, Caravaggio text: The Conversion of the Magdalen, Caravaggio, c. 1598, oil and tempera on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

media: 19885960

quicklist: 8 title: Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera text: Detroit Industry, north wall (detail), Diego Rivera, 1932-33, fresco. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

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quicklist: 9 title: Cotopaxi, Edwin Frederic Church text: Cotopaxi, Edwin Frederic Church, 1862, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

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quicklist: 10 title: Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket text: Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, James McNeill Whistler, ca. 1875, oil on panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

media: 19885939

quicklist: 11 title: The Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder text: The Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, ca. 1566, oil on oak panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value $100 million.

media: 19885992

quicklist: 12 title: Gladioli, Claude Monet text: Gladioli, Claude Monet, ca. 1876, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

media: 19885929