By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the Archdiocese of Philadelphia consolidates its St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on City Avenue, it is also moving to sell off seminary art, including portraits by a famous Philadelphian.

Five portraits of clerics by Thomas Eakins were taken down last Friday and are now in the hands of Christie’s auction house, according to Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin.

“Eakins had a special relationship with the seminary itself,” Gavin says. “At the dawn of the 20th century, he befriended many of the faculty members out there.”

The paintings include a 1902 portrait of the Right Reverend James Loughlin, which hung with the others in the College Building’s Eakins room on the lower campus. It is among the properties being marketed for sale or lease.

Gavin says the Archdiocese doesn’t know what they’ll fetch, but hopes it will be in the multi-million dollar range.

“Certainly it will not be in the range of the Gross Clinic (another Eakins painting) a few years back.”

The goal is to use the proceeds to defray the cost of consolidating the physical space from 75 to about 30 acres and renovating the existing buildings on the upper side of the Wynnewood campus.

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