The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of America's great museums. On every wall hang magnificent works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Rembrandt.
The museum is located in downtown Detroit amidst a sea of urban blight. Now, these beautiful masterpieces may be sold to the highest bidder to pay down the city's $18 billion debt.
Potentially, each and every one of the museum's 60,000 works of art are potentially up for grabs. Total value: More than $2 billion.
There's a 1967 iconic Andy Warhol, his "double self-portrait" valued at $80 million, and a Van Gogh worth $60 million.
Even the very walls of the museum are at risk of being sold. Mexican artist Diego Rivera painted a mural directly onto the walls of the museum in 1932.
One quintessential Rembrandt from 1640 is worth $60 million.
Iconic pieces from America's pop cultural past, like the original Howdy Doody doll, could hit the auction block to satisfy the city's creditors.
Kevyn Orr, Emergency City Manager said, “Everything's on the table, but we're going to try to rationalize assets as best we can.”
In a statement, museum officials denounced any move by the bankrupt city to sell its artwork, saying: "The city cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection."
Hopefully, a way will be found to live up to the inscription on the building: "Dedicated by the people of Detroit to the knowledge and enjoyment of art."