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Free as a Bird Now! Eagle Dilemma Resolved

You may recall that I sent out an e-mail last year highlighting the dispute between the Estate of Ileanna Sonnenband and the IRS over the value of the work of art entitled "Canyon" by Robert Rauschenberg. This work included a stuffed bald eagle that was restricted from sale under th 1940 Bald Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Estate argued for a value of zero (effectively a 100% discount for lack of marketability) while the IRS argued that it was worth $65 million.

 

As expected, the case has settled - with the IRS dropping the tax assessment  in exchange for the Estate's agreement to donate  Canyon to a museum without claiming a tax deduction.

 

The fight however continued between the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA) for the right to receive the work - wih MoMA winning out, despite the fact that Canyon had been on loan to the Met since 2005. 

 

And the headline in the New York Times article covering this story?

Nothing better than: "The Eagle has Landed" of course!