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ART OF THE DEAL: PAFA Sells THE CELLO PLAYER To Buy THE GROSS CLINIC; Buyer & Price Unknown

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Aftershocks of the $68 million sale of Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic rippled across the city’s cultural landscape yesterday as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts disclosed that it had sold one of its most recognizable paintings – Eakins’ The Cello Player – to help finance the deal.

“We gave it long and careful and agonizing consideration,” said Herbert Riband, the academy board vice chairman. “Our board did not undertake this lightly.”

Riband would not disclose – and said he did not know – the identity of the buyer nor the price paid for the large 1896 oil portrait of renowned cellist Rudolf Henning, intense and alone with his instrument.

The painting was purchased by the academy in 1897 and has been on public view there ever since.

INQUIRER: OK, Explain To Us Again How The Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts Can Sell An Eakins Painting And The Vice Chairman Doesn’t Know WHO Bought It Or HOW MUCH They Paid?

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