Report: Art museums to bet on Super Bowl

In a friendly but substantial Super Bowl bet, the directors of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art, in Pittsburgh, have each wagered an Impressionist painting on their home-state football teams — the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers — the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday.

If the Packers win, the Milwaukee Art Museum must lend "Boating on the Yerres" by Gustav Caillebotte to Carnegie. If the Steelers are victorious, Carnegie will lend a Renoir work to the Milwaukee musuem.

In a possible first among the classy social sphere of art museum curators, MAM director Daniel T. Keegan, a Green Bay native, has started engaging in some mild trash talking.

“I’m confident that we will be enjoying the Renoir from the Carnegie Museum of Art very soon," Keegan said.

"I look forward to displaying it where the public can enjoy it and be reminded of the superiority of the Green Bay Packers.”

Carnegie director Lynn Zelavansky refused to return fire, however.

“In Pittsburgh, we believe trash talk is bad form," Zelavansky said. "We let the excellence of our football team, and our collection, speak for itself."

The bet was instigated by art critic Tyler Green, whose Modern Art Notes blog is published by ArtInfo.com. Last year, weeks before the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl, Green baited the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art into an artsy wager as well.

After the Saints won, the New Orleans received a painting by British romantic landscape artist J.M.W. Turner. The painting was shown in the Louisiana museum for three months.

New Orleans had bet a work by Baroque painter Claude Lorrain.

Super Bowl XLV will be played at 6:30 pm ET Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas, just ouside Dallas.