Even art museums make Super Bowl bets!

Fri, Jan 29
Ideal View of TivoliClaude Lorrain/New Orleans Museum of ArtClaude Lorrain's "Ideal View of Tivoli" could be headed to Indianapolis after Super Bowl Sunday.

Just how excited are Indianapolis and New Orleans that their teams got to the Super Bowl? Even the local art museums have big stakes riding on the big game.

The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art each have put up a gem from their own permanent collection, pending a Saints or Colts win. The loser loans its masterpiece to the rival museum for three months.

The Fifth Plague of Egypt
J.M.W. Turner/Indianapolis Museum of ArtHere's a look at "The Fifth Plague of Egypt."

Art blogger Tyler Green begat the bet in a conference championship afterglow when he tweeted a proposed Super Bowl wager between the two venerable institutions.

Max Anderson, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, answered the call with a contemporary painting by the American artist Ingrid Calame. But his New Orleans Museum of Art counterpart, John Bullard, quickly upped the ante, offering to wager a $4 million Renoir via Twitter: "Let's get serious -- works that would truly be missed!"

After taking stock of both collections -- the Renoir was called a "sentimental blancmange," while Indy's gold-and-jasper cup was deemed "gaudy" -- the terms were finally set Wednesday afternoon: J.M.W. Turner's "The Fifth Plague of Egypt" (Indianapolis) versus Claude Lorrain's "Ideal View of Tivoli" (New Orleans). Enter the trash talking.

From IMA: "We're already spackling the wall where the NOMA loan will hang."

Countered NOMA: "Perhaps our @18PeytonManning can deliver the Turner."