A large painting of an Afghan tribesman has hung for decades in the auditorium of a Massachusetts elementary school. The school system’s superintendent recently asked Sotheby’s, the famous auction house, to appraise the work, “Afghans,” by the Russian artist Alexandre Iacovlef. The school guessed the painting was worth about $1,000, but boy were they in for a big surprise. The painting is actually worth between $1 million to $2 million.
While the much higher price tag was good news, it also created a dilemma—how to insure the painting and protect it from thieves. The school says it cannot afford to keep the painting, even though that’s what the donor wanted when he gave it to the school.
Now that spring is fast approaching, it might be time to do some spring cleaning and a schoolwide inventory. You never know, you might have an old Picasso lying around.