"We got a good offer. The market is very high and who knows what it will be in 10 years. I always tried to keep as much [of my family's collection] together as I could," Rudolf Staechelin, 62, a retired Sotheby’s executive, told the paper, adding that to sell was sad, but "a fact of life."
The Swiss added that he had decided on the sale in order to diversify his family's assets, of which he said over 90 percent are paintings hanging in museums free of charge. His grandfather Rudolf Staechelin, a businessman from Basel, amassed the bulk of the collection in the period during the First World War and the early post-war years.
"We are painfully reminded that permanent loans are still loans. The people of Basel do not own these, and they can be taken away at any moment," said the Kunstmuseum in a statement on the ending of the arrangement, according to Artnet.com. The report adds that the sale also comes after a dispute between Staechelin and the local government over loan stipulations regarding the painting's display for the period when the museum is closed for renovation.
The painting is currently still on display in Basel, before going on a tour of different exhibitions planned for the year-long renovation period of the Kunstmuseum Basel, Artnet reports. The canvas can be seen in Madrid's Reina Sofía museum and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. before making the journey to new owners next January.