A deal is a deal, so our loss to the Eagles will be a gain for art lovers in Kansas City.
To win #MuseumBowl23, the Super Bowl bet between our cities’ art museums, Sailing by Thomas Eakins will leave the Philadelphia Museum of Art to go on loan to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
If the Eagles had won, the PMA would have borrowed one of their top executives.
“Although both the Chiefs and the Eagles had an excellent and very entertaining game, we were delighted that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl,” said Julian Zugazagoitia, CEO and director of Nelson-Atkins.
“If the Eagles had won, the Nelson-Atkins would have loaned the Philadelphia Museum of Art Raphaelle Peale’s Venus Rising from the Sea – A Deception,” added Zugazagoitia. “Since Peale was from Philadelphia, we thought it would be fun to create a family reunion between one of our American painting icons with the PMA’s Peale family’s amazing estates.”
Our part of #MuseumBowl23 appears to be good sport on how their bet played out.
“Every team played their best and we extend our congratulations to Kansas City,” said Sasha Suda, CEO and director of PMA. “Our Eakins will come with the wind in their sails and it will be a pleasure to share this Philadelphia treasure with our friends in Kansas City.”
The Nelson-Atkins has a fine Americana collection and they have a portrait of Eakins, but lending one of Philadelphia’s sports scenes paintings seemed especially appropriate, according to Jessica Todd Smith, PMA’s curator for American art and director of curatorial initiatives.
“This is a really nice example of Thomas Eakins’ interest in sports,” Smith said. “Eakins was an athlete and therefore represented a number of different sports: boxing, the famous rowing on the Schuylkill. It seems like the work of a Philadelphia artist doing an athletic subject was really resonant, and soccer is America’s most American sport.
Additionally, the people navigating in the painting, he said, were on the Delaware River on their way to the swamps of South Philadelphia to hunt birds at a location not far from the stadium where the Eagles now play. This just added to the suitability of him.
Part of the bet was that the winning museum would offer its losing visitors some of the hometown’s specialties when they came to fulfill their side of the bet. The Kansas City crew, it seems, has every intention of honoring that part of the deal.
“We look forward to welcoming the PMA contingent to Nelson-Atkins and will keep our promise to provide them with a fantastic barbecue while they are here,” said Zugazagotia.
A PMA delegation is expected to travel to Kansas City to deliver the painting in time for April’s NFL Draft.
“Since it was a football-related bet, it seems quite fitting. The project will take place there at the end of April,” Smith said. “It looks like a nice full-circle moment.”
He said the painting will likely be in the Kansas City museum for about four to six months.