Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Paintings hang on Super Bowl wager

Ideal View of Tivoli
The NOMA will loan Ideal View of Tivoli to the IMA if the Colts win

Two art galleries have staked the loan of a painting on the outcome of the US Super Bowl between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.

John Bullard and Maxwell Anderson, directors of museums in New Orleans and Indianapolis, waged the online betting match on Twitter.

The pair agreed to loan paintings - by JMW Turner and Claude Lorrain - to the other, if their team loses on Sunday.

The Super Bowl painting exchange will last for three months.

Winning city

A Colts win would bring Ideal View of Tivoli, by French painter Claude Lorrain, to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA).

Conversely, the IMA will lend The Fifth Plague of Egypt, by the 19th Century English landscape artist Turner, to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) if the Saints are victorious.

The Twitter exchange was sparked at the end of January by arts blogger Tyler Green, of Modern Art Notes, who tweeted: "Would love to see @IMAmuseum and @NOMA1910 make a Super Bowl bet. Like a painting-loan-to-the-winning city."

The challenge was accepted and quickly escalated to an all-out betting war.

Mr Anderson opened the stakes by offering a contemporary artwork by Ingrid Calame to NOMA, in the event of a Saints victory, but Mr Bullard dismissed it and upped the ante by offering first its Renoir painting - Seamstress at Window, circa 1908 - then a jewel-encrusted cup by French artist Jean-Valentine Morel.

'Spirited competition'

But it was dismissed by Mr Bullard as "that gaudy chalice", adding: "Let's get serious. Each museum needs to offer an artwork that they would really miss for three months. What would you like, Max? A Monet, a Cassatt, a Picasso, a Miro?"

Mr Anderson offered the Turner in response, and NOMA eventually pledged Lorrain's 1644 work, Ideal View of Tivoli.

The Super Bowl wager was sealed on Wednesday with Mr Anderson's tweet: "@NOMA1910 Deal - Claude for Turner. Two masters in spirited competition across the channel, and between our fair cities. Go Colts!"

The annual Super Bowl is the biggest event in the US sporting calendar.

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