Want a free $3 million mural?

April 9, 2008 9:55:52 PM PDT
A mural, worth millions of dollars, is being given away for free. It's been up at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center for years. But this free mural offer has a catch.

The 620 square foot mural captures an era, long past. It's of a West Texas farm in the 1950's, a piece of Americana that may soon be lost to progress.

It is in the lobby of the old Prudential Insurance building at 1100 Holcombe that MD Anderson bought in the 70's.

Before the building is demolition, the hospital would like to save the mural. Painted by Peter Hurd in 1952, it is valued at $3 million. MD Anderson's William Daigneau is willing to give it away, for free.

The free offer comes with a big catch, Hurd painted the mural onto plaster.

In the minds of some preservationist, the best way to save the art is to save the entire building.

Still faced with an ever growing patient population, the hospital must balance the stewardship with the needs of its patients.

One way or another, the mural will most likely come down.

A Hurd gallery owner in New Mexico is trying to find an art restoration service that could preserve the piece. She estimates to remove the mural would cost well over a half million dollars.

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