Nelson-Atkins and Philadelphia Museum of Art wager precious works of art on Super Bowl LVII


The front lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. // Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins

Update 2/21/23: The Nelson-Atkins Museum will receive Thomas Eakins’ oil painting Sailing c. 1875.

There’s more than a trophy up for grabs for the champion of Super Bowl LVII. The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum have put some precious works of art on the line.

Each museum has promised to loan a master painting to the other, depending on the outcome of the Super Bowl. The works that will be wagered will be named after curators at each museum “huddle to consider the potential spoils of victory,” according to a press release from the Nelson-Atkins. 


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Sasha Suda, the Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, sent the proposal, but Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, was eager to accept.

A delegation from the losing museum will be sent along with the master painting to ensure its safe delivery. Although both museums have promised to be gracious hosts, no one is shying away from some polite smack-talk.

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916). Sailing. c. 1875. Oil on canvas. The Alex Simpson, Jr., Collection, 1928. 1928-63-6

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916). Sailing. c. 1875. Oil on canvas. The Alex Simpson, Jr., Collection, 1928. 1928-63-6 // Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

“When the Eagles soar to victory, we will warmly greet our friends from the Nelson-Atkins and treat them to unforgettable cheesesteaks here in Philadelphia,” Suda says. “They have such a remarkable collection, and we will be thrilled to share a piece of it with our visitors, in a very special Point After Touchdown (PAT). We’ll make it feel right at home in our galleries and display it with Philly pride.”

A nice offer from the City of Brotherly Love, but Zugazagoitia made sure to reciprocate a much more enticing offer for when they visit the BBQ Capital of the World.

“We expect to offer our Philadelphia friends something they’ll long remember after the Chiefs make short work of the Eagles,” Zugazagoitia says. “Philadelphia’s museum has so many amazing works, and they will see how wonderful the PMA loan will appear in our beautiful galleries. We won’t let them leave, of course, before they can taste the best of our Kansas City barbeque.”

You can follow #MuseumBowl on Instagram: @nelsonatkins and @philamuseum or on the Nelson-Atkins and Philadelphia Museum of Art Facebook pages.

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