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Impressionist paintings wagered on Super Bowl

By Laura Allsop for CNN
Bathers With Crab, c. 1890-1899, Pierre Auguste Renoir; Boating on the Yerres, 1877, Gustave Caillebotte
Bathers With Crab, c. 1890-1899, Pierre Auguste Renoir; Boating on the Yerres, 1877, Gustave Caillebotte
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Loan of major artworks wagered on outcome of Sunday's Super Bowl
  • Carnegie Museum of Art and Milwaukee Art Museum in wager
  • Artworks by Impressionists Renoir and Caillebotte are at stake
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(CNN) -- Impressionist painting and football are words you don't often hear in the same sentence.

But the Carnegie Museum of Art and Milwaukee Art Museum are bridging the gap by wagering temporary loans of major Impressionist artworks from their collections on the outcome of the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The stakes are as follows: if the Green Bay Packers win, the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh will loan Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bathers With Crab" to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

But if the Pittsburgh Steelers steal victory, the Milwaukee Art Museum stands to temporarily lose to the Carnegie its prized "Boating on the Yerres" by Gustave Caillebotte.

"Our art director is from Green Bay, so this is personal," said Kristin Settle, head of Public Relations for the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Our art director is from Green Bay, so this is personal
--Kristin Settle, Milwaukee Art Museum

Wagering a loan of art on the outcome of the Super Bowl is now something of a tradition.

Last year, art blogger Tyler Green dared the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art to wager the loan of an important artwork on the outcome of the match between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.

The Saints won the match and its museum got to temporarily house a painting by J.M.W. Turner.

Green made the same challenge this year to the Carnegie Museum of Art and Milwaukee Art Museum.

"I thought that I'd like to see more art museums come down off the hill, so to speak, and be part of their communities in a more engaged way," he explained.

And, he said, he wanted to see communities get excited about their local art collections.

"Besides, it seemed like it might be a fun way to hijack America's two weeks of rampant football-ism by getting some art in there," he added.

Lynn Zelevansky is the director of the Carnegie Museum. She is confident that her team will win.

The art wager, she said, is a way of showing that "the museum is also part of the community, it's a way of doing our part."

Settle, in Milwaukee, echoed this sentiment: "We just could not be more thrilled to be representing Wisconsin as the cultural icon for the state in this wager," she said.

"So when the Green Bay Packers are victorious in the Super Bowl on Sunday, when they win, we will receive the Renoir and should by some weird twist of fate the Steelers win then we will be sending them our Gustave Caillebotte," she said.

Big talk: may the best team win.

 
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