The Metropolitan Museum of Art regularly deaccessions and disposes of works of art. The term "deaccession" refers to the internal procedural step by which an object may be removed from the official inventoried collection of the Museum. The term "disposal" refers to the sale, exchange, or other transfer of the work.
The Museum may deaccession a work because:
The object is no longer relevant to the mission of the Museum or has little value in the Museum's collection.
- The object is redundant or is a duplicate and is not necessary for research or study purposes.
The object is of lesser quality than other objects of the same type that are already in the collection or that are about to be acquired.
The object has been found to lack sufficient aesthetic merit or art historical importance to warrant retention.
The Museum is unable to preserve the object in a responsible manner.
The object is unduly difficult or impossible to care for or store properly.
The Museum may also deaccession a work if it is ordered to return an object to its original and rightful owner by a court of law, or the Museum determines that another person or entity is the rightful owner of the object, or the Museum determines that its best interests are served by transferring title to another party.
In June 1973, the Board of Trustees approved detailed Procedures for Deaccessioning and Disposing of Works of Art in response to an investigation by the New York Attorney General. The Procedures were updated in February 2005 and are available from the Secretary's Office upon request.
The Met's direct link can be accessed here.