Bankrupt Detroit Assesses Its Art Treasures

PHOTO: Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh
The Detroit Institute of Art

As the city of Detroit searches for creative ways to pay off its massive debts, staff at the world renowned Detroit Institute of Art is worried their collection could be in jeopardy.

Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced Monday that the city has hired New York auction house Christies to appraise some of the masterpieces in the museums 60,000 piece collection. The city of Detroit owns all the art in the museum.

Museum Director Graham Beal says the state of the city-owned collection has been a concern for months, especially after a visit from Christies appraisers back in May.

"The creditors aren't interested in the future of Detroit, they just want their money back," Beal told ABCNews.com.

Orr said in a statement that the decision to bring in Christie's came at the request of creditors, who the emergency manager is working with to ease the city's $18 billion debt. But Orr insists that "There has never been, nor is there now, any plan to sell art."

Here are 12 masterpieces on display at the Detroit Institute of Art.

PHOTO: Van Gogh Self Portrait
The Detroit Institute of Art
Self-Portrait, Vincent van Gogh

Self-Portrait, Vincent van Gogh, 1887, oil on artist board, mounted on wood panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value: $60 million.

PHOTO: Saint Jerome in his Study, Jan van Eyck
The Detroit Institute of Art
Saint Jerome in his Study, Jan van Eyck

Saint Jerome in his Study, Jan van Eyck, 1442, oil on linen paper on oak panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value: $50 million.

PHOTO: The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli
The Detroit Institute of Art
The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli

The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: The Postman, Vincent van Gogh
The Detroit Institute of Art
Portrait of Postman Roulin, Vincent van Gogh

Portrait of Postman Roulin, Vincent van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh
The Detroit Institute of Art
Banks of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh

Bank of the Oise at Auvers, Vincent van Gogh, 1890, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: The Window, Henri Matisse, 1916
The Detroit Institute of Art
The Window, Henri Matisse

The Window, Henri Matisse, 1916, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated valued: $150 million.

PHOTO: The Conversion of the Magdalen
The Detroit Institute of Art
The Conversion of the Magdalen, Caravaggio

The Conversion of the Magdalen, Caravaggio, c. 1598, oil and tempera on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: Detroit Industry - north wall detail
The Detroit Institute of Art
Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera

Detroit Industry, north wall (detail), Diego Rivera, 1932-33, fresco. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: Cotopaxi
The Detroit Institute of Art
Cotopaxi, Edwin Frederic Church

Cotopaxi, Edwin Frederic Church, 1862, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: Nocturne in Black and Gold
The Detroit Institute of Art
Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket

Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, James McNeill Whistler, ca. 1875, oil on panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

PHOTO: The Wedding Dance
The Detroit Institute of Art
The Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, ca. 1566, oil on oak panel. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts. Estimated value $100 million.

PHOTO:Gladioli, Claude Monet, ca 1876
The Detroit Institute of Art
Gladioli, Claude Monet

Gladioli, Claude Monet, ca. 1876, oil on canvas. Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts.

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