ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) The Ruthmere Museum in Elkhart says it’s planning for the future, but that means sacrificing one of its most prized sculptures.

Inside the Ruthmere Museum, you’ll see art unlike anything else in Michiana.

They have a number of Auguste Rodin sculptures, but this normally isn’t the one you’d see when you walk up to their gallery landing.

That would be the Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone, and it was just sold for more than $7.5 million.

“It was something that we found rather surprising and of course we were very happy with it. But it preceded all pre-auction estimates,” said Ruthmere’s Director Bill Firstenberger.

Firstenberger says the sculpture has been at the museum since one of the founding members Walter Beardsley gifted it in 1978. He bought it for just $50 thousand.

“It sort of speaks to the rarity of the work, the quality, and essentially the market we have internationally for masterpieces that seldom come on the market,” said Sotheby’s Vice Chairman August Uribe.

He says that they’re letting go part of their past by selling the sculpture, but it’s setting them up to reach their endowment goal of $10 million they set in 2018.

“To have people in the community writing us very significant checks of support to help us get to $10 million, that we ought to find a way ourselves to make a sacrifice to help in that campaign as well,” Firstenberger said.

Saying goodbye to a one of a kind sculpture, and hello to the future.

The decision to sell came down to a unanimous vote by the museum’s board of directors.





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