Following a hectic week of storm and school cancellations, comes jubilation.
"This truly is a transformative moment in the life of our school," said Walter Johnson, headmaster of the school that has just gotten a windfall of many millions from the sale of famous art it had inherited. "It is exciting to imagine how this gift will shape our school as it moves forward into the coming decades."
Christie's of NYC auctioned off Claude Monet's Nymphéas last week. Expected to fetch anywhere between $30 and $50 million, the sale price came in closer to the high end at $43 million—$43,762,500, to be exact, to a private American bidder on the phone, reported USA Today.
Ethel Strong Allen, with three generations of her family having attended Tarrytown's esteemed private school, had bequethed the painting to the school along with two Impressionist landscapes by Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, also part of this week's highly anticipated auction.
"Wednesday's sale is believed to be the second highest price achieved by the artist," the USA Today article stated.
The highest is this: the 2008 London sale of the artist's rendition of his backyard sold for $80.4 million, double its original estimate.
Also, wrote USA Today, "The school says the family's most recent contributions may be among the largest donations ever made to an independent school in the state."
After all fees to Christie's are paid, the school can reportedly expect to see over $45 million of the proceeds, which they have said they will put toward the school's long-term development goals.
Headmaster Johnson sent this bulletin out to their community:
Last night, Christie’s auctioned the three paintings bequeathed to Hackley School by Ethel Allen, and we are pleased to announce that the final bids for these paintings totaled $45,200,000.
This truly is a transformative moment in the life of our school, and it is exciting to imagine this gift’s shaping influence on Hackley in the coming decades. Now that the auction has been completed, we will begin discussions with the Allen family on how to direct this gift in support of Hackley’s programs.
As I noted in last month’s message announcing this gift, Ethel Allen’s bequest represents a vote of confidence in the school’s achievements to date, and assures Hackley will continue to strengthen in offering students a supportive, globally engaged community that enables both challenge and nurture, and in giving them the means to set and attain high personal goals.
We are deeply grateful to Ethel Allen and to the Allen family for their generosity and leadership – they inspire us all to do our best for Hackley. The Hackley community as a whole also deserves thanks. Our collective efforts over the last two decades have built a culture of philanthropy at Hackley that ranges from our students’ extensive community service efforts to the engagement of parents, alumni, and friends in supporting our school. When 94% of parents and 30% of alumni support Hackley’s Annual Fund year after year -- when in addition hundreds of families and individuals give even more to capital projects and endowment, when you give to assure the best educational environment for all our children, to support gifted teachers and coaches, and to support access to Hackley for talented students regardless of means – you are inspiring gifts like this from the Allen family. A great school is shaped by such collective commitment and effort.
Thank you for all you have done to make Hackley worthy of this extraordinary beneficence.
Walter C. Johnson