Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Philadelphia, No. 3532 of 1967, in re estate of Albert M. Greenfield, deceased.
Robert M. Landis, with him Grahame P. Richards, Jr., George B. Clothier, Robert Louis Freedman, Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel and Dechert, Price & Rhoads, for appellant.
Duffield Ashmead, III, with him William C. Bullitt, and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellees.
S. Laurence Shaiman, for Elizabeth M. Greenfield et al., executors, appellees.
D. Arthur Magaziner, for guardian-trustee ad litem.
James W. Sutton, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, and Israel Packel, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, Parens Patriae.
Jones, C. J., Eagen O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy.
This appeal raises a question of interpretation of the will of the late Albert M. Greenfield insofar as it involves disposition of a substantial portion of a valuable collection of art, assembled by Mr. Greenfield during his lifetime. The collection, formed with the
assistance of Mrs. Greenfield, consists of sixty-six paintings and other art objects, including works by Chagall, Corot, deKooning, Giacometti, Ingres, Klee, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, Pollock, and Degas. At the time of Mr. Greenfield's death, the collection was appraised at $447,420. Except when placed on public exhibition, the paintings and other works of art were displayed in the Greenfield home in Philadelphia.
Mr. Greenfield executed his will on February 27, 1966. The clause of the will which gives rise to the dispute occurs in the sixth paragraph, which recites in pertinent part: "I give and bequeath to my said wife the use for life of such of my prints, etchings, drawings, paintings and sculpture, and any other works of art, as were acquired during our marriage . . . at the death of my wife (or at such earlier time or times as she may wish to relinquish any of said items) as to the items bequeathed to her for life, the items so bequeathed, respectively, shall pass to The Philadelphia Museum of Art, or to such other museum or gallery of art of comparable stature and standing and likewise dedicated to the exhibition of works of art to the public, as my wife may select."
Mr. Greenfield died on January 5, 1967, and his will was duly admitted to probate five days later. Mrs. Greenfield elected to take against the will for the avowed purpose of ...