Gollings Sale Called 'Historic Event'

The man who appraised 10 paintings by western artist Bill Gollings said the proposed sale of the works is an historic event.

Gary Temple, who owns Meadowlark Gallery in Billings, has valued the paintings at more than $3.2 million, and added that he hopes they will be kept together as a group. He spoke to trustees of Sheridan County School District 2 by phone during the school board's meeting Monday night.

School District 2 has owned the paintings since the 1920s, when parent-teacher organizations purchased them from Gollings for individual schools. The paintings were loaned to the library in Sheridan in the 1970s. The gallery owner was asked to appraise the works in preparation for a possible sale. He told trustees that he appraised each painting individually. One piece in particular impressed him.

That painting was the most expensive, but other values ranged from almost $300,000 to $400,000.

Whitney Benefits at a school board meeting last month expressed an interest in buying the paintings after an appraisal. Trustees on Monday voted to ask that Whitney's and the school district's attorneys meet and negotiate a contract for purchase. Whitney Benefits President Tom Kinnison attended Monday's meeting. He told trustees that the board had a lot to discuss.

Trustee Wayne Schatz voiced appreciation for the effort and foresight of the PTA organizations that originally bought the paintings for Sheridan's schools.

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