A deal is a deal, and so our Eagles loss will be Kansas City’s art lovers gain.
By succeeding #MuseumBowl23, the Super Bowl bet between the art museums of our cities, Sailing by Thomas Eakins will leave the Philadelphia Museum of Art to be loaned to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
If the Eagles had won, PMA would have loaned one of their main boards.
“While the Chiefs and Eagles played an excellent and very entertaining game, we were thrilled that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl,” said Julian Zugazagoitia, CEO and manager of Nelson-Atkins.
“If the Eagles had won, the Nelson-Atkins would have loaned Venus Rising from the Sea – A Deception from the Philadelphia Museum of Art Raphaelle Peale, added Zugazagoitia. “Since Peale was from Philadelphia, we thought it would be fun to affect a family reunion between one of our icons of American painting with the extraordinary properties of the PMA Peale family.”
Our #MuseumBowl23 side seems like a good sportsman on how their bet went.
“Every team gave their best, and we send our congratulations to Kansas City,” said Sasha Suda, CEO and Director of PMA. “Our Eakins will arrive with the wind in its sails, and it will be a pleasure to share this Philadelphia treasure with our friends in Kansas City.”
The Nelson-Atkins has a nice American collection, and they have a portrait of Eakins, but lending one of the Philadelphia sports scene paintings then seemed particularly appropriate, according to Jessica Todd Smith, PMA Curator of American Art. and Director of Conservation Initiatives.
“It’s a really great example of Thomas Eakins’ interest in sports,” Smith said. “Eakins was an athlete and therefore represented a number of different sports – boxing, famous rowing on the Schuylkill. It seems that the work of an artist from Philadelphia dealing with an athletic subject really resonates, and football is the most American sport.
Additionally, the people navigating the board, she said, were on the Delaware River heading to the South Philadelphia swamps to hunt birds at a location not far from the stadium where the Eagles now play. This only adds to its relevance.
Part of the bet was that the winning museum would offer its losing visitors some of its hometown delicacies when they came to fulfill their part of the bet. The Kansas City team, it seems, has every intention of honoring that part of the deal.
“We look forward to welcoming the PMA contingent to the Nelson-Atkins and will deliver on our promise to provide them with a fantastic BBQ during their stay,” Zugazagotia said.
A PMA delegation is expected to travel to Kansas City to deliver the table in time for the NFL Draft in April.
“Since it was a football-related bet, it seems pretty fitting. The draft is there at the end of April,” Smith said. “It feels like a good full-circle moment.”
She said the painting will likely be in the Kansas City museum for about four to six months.