Why Selling This Robert Rauschenberg Would Be A Crime—Literally
AN UNSELLABLE MASTERPIECE VALUED AT $65 MILLION
The children of the late gallery owner, Ileana Sonnabend were basically forced to donate their Robert Rauschenberg assemblage, ‘Canyon’ to New York’s Museum of Modern Art to avoid a huge tax bill and an arrest. This is a landmark addition to the MoMA’s already impressive Rauschenberg collection and a huge relief for the artwork’s owners.
You see, the work in question involves a stuffed bald eagle. Because bald eagles are under federal protection, the Sonnabend children would be committing a felony if they tried to sell it. Furthermore, the IRS valued the artwork at $65 million dollars. This means that the owners had to pay taxes on it. That tax bill came out to $29.2 million. The MoMA doesn’t have to pay taxes on it because it’s a non-profit organization.
This whole thing just sounds like something my dad would refer to as ‘bullshit’. I think I’d have to agree. It’s not like Rauschenberg killed the eagle. That little guy has been dead for years.