George Lucas Eyes a Famous Diego Rivera
The New York Times is reporting that the financially troubled San Francisco Art Institute is contemplating the sale of its famed Diego Rivera mural, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City (1931). George Lucas is said to be considering the purchase of the fresco for his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art under construction in Los Angeles. Talk of a possible sale of the Rivera has sparked condemnation from SFAI faculty and alumni.
The mural has been appraised at $50 million, about five times SFAI's endowment. Transporting a 19 by 33-ft fresco painting on the 5 freeway(?!) could itself be a million-dollar undertaking.
Add in San Francisco-L.A. rivalry, and I'd say the chance of a sale to Lucas is just about zero. Still, the fact that Lucas is open to pursuing Mexican muralism—a "narrative art" that really matters—is encouraging going forward.
UPDATE: San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to grant landmark status to the Rivera mural. This would block a sale to Lucas.