Home Arts Diego Rivera mural’s $50 million fate uncertain as bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute campus hits the market

Diego Rivera mural’s $50 million fate uncertain as bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute campus hits the market

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The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) campus is now available for purchase after the school was seized earlier this year. The institution in financial difficulty closed its doors to new students in 2020, embarking on a acquisition agreement with the University of San Francisco in February 2022 which subsequently failed. In April, SFAI filed for bankruptcyless than a year after its last student enrollment.

According to San Francisco Chronicle, SFAI owes $450,000 in unpaid rent on its main campus and $750,000 in unpaid rent on its former Fort Mason property. Many other creditors owe tens of thousands of dollars. The asking price for the campus was not disclosed.

SFAI is home to Diego Rivera’s 1931 mural The realization of a fresco, showing the construction of a city, a cultural gem valued at $50 million whose future remains uncertain. SFAI estate attorney Gregg Kleiner says the mural can be sold with the school’s real estate properties, either as part of the building that houses it or separately after removal.

by Diego Rivera The realization of a fresco showing the construction of a city (1931) at the San Francisco Art Institute. Pictured: Steve Rhodes.

“Based on the information available, the mural was designed to be removable from the property,” Kleiner told the the Chronicle. “If the bankruptcy estate receives a viable offer for the mural only, the trustee will likely offer a sale of the mural alone, subject to required notice and bankruptcy court approval.”

The SFAI property consists of two city landmark buildings in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, totaling approximately 93,000 square feet. Designed by architects Bakewell and Brown (who also designed San Francisco City Hall) in 1926, the campus is renowned for its magnificent bell tower, rooftop amphitheater, interior courtyard, and its modernist addition designed by Paffard Keatinge -Clay.

“We believe this is a very rare and exciting opportunity for someone to acquire a huge piece of Russian Hill real estate that offers phenomenal views and very functional and cool real estate,” said said Tom Christian, executive managing director of Cushman & Wakefield. the Chronicle. “Where can you find a steeple, courtyard and 93,000 square feet of beautiful space overlooking Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and all within walking distance of the Financial District, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf?”

Given the demand for (non-commercial) real estate in the Bay Area, the SFAI campus may not stay on the market for long. Across the bay from Oakland, the 60-acre campus of Holy Names University was recently sold for more than 60 million dollars in less than three months.

SFAI isn’t Rivera’s only moving mural in San Francisco. The artist is massive Pan American Unit (1940), which belongs to the City College of San Francisco but was on view at SFMoMA since 2021will soon be moving to a purpose-built theater building on the CCSF campus with its soaring glass walls.

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