A Texas foundation is selling four Henri Matisse sculptures known as "The Backs," which were once displayed in a public park and are currently on exhibit at an art museum in Fort Worth.
The monumental sculptures move from realism to the abstract in depicting, in bronze relief, the back of a nude woman resting her head on her arm. A casting of "Back IV" sold at auction at Christie's in November for 48.8 million dollars.
"They've just got to a sufficient value it doesn't fit our mission to keep them anymore," said Neils Agather, director of the Burnett Foundation.
"We're not an art collecting foundation. We support health education, human services and the arts in the city of Fort Worth primarily."
The private foundation acquired the four sculptures in 1982 when it was renovating a public park in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
They were eventually moved to the Kimbell Art Museum after they accrued in value and the foundation decided they would be safer there.
The proceeds from the private sale -- which will be handled by Sotheby's -- will be used to carry out the foundation's work, Agather told Agence France Presse.
The Burnett Foundation will donate two other works currently on display at the Kimbell -- Henry Moore's
"Figure in Shelter" and Fernand Leger's "La Fleur qui Marche" -- in appreciation of the museum's
stewardship of the sculptures, he added.
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