Thursday, January 27, 2011

Institutions That Deaccession Find Themselves on the Defensive

Another article on deaccessioning and its pitfalls from the paper of record. Nothing new to be exact, but Donn is, once again, distressed by the anti-deaccessioning hypocrisy.
If it's okay (or more than okay: healthy, normal, to be encouraged) for the Art Institute of Chicago to sell those Picassos, Matisses, and Braques in order to buy yet more art, then it's got be okay to sell the same works for other worthy purposes, right? Right?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rosenbach Museum to Deaccession Paintings: Proceeds to be Restricted to New Acquisitions

This will most certainly make the anti-deaccessioning police quite happy.

At its quarterly meeting on October 26, 2010, the Board of Trustees of the Rosenbach Museum & Library voted unanimously to deaccession thirteen paintings by the British artist Walter Greaves (1846-1930).

Where's the money going?

According to the Rosenbach's website,
Since 2003, the Rosenbach has had a policy in place that limits all proceeds from deaccessioning to new acquisitions. In other words, the Rosenbach never uses any portion of the monies for collections care, capital improvements, or other expenses. The Rosenbach is not a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, which requires such a policy, but it chooses to identify with what it views as a higher standard promulgated by that organization.
Having learned from the Rose Art Museum witch hunt, the Rosenbach has hired a public relations firm to help in handling this situation. Who ever said free speech was dead?

You can read Rosenbach's Director Derick Dreher's entire press release here, available via the Philadelphia PR firm, Canary Promotion and Design.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cleveland Museum of Art to Auction 32 Paintings at Sotheby's

Don't worry, according to, the AAMD has blessed it as totally legit.
Earnings from the Cleveland sale will be used to buy more old master paintings for the collection....[T]he Cleveland sale is unlikely to cause a ruckus. Most of the individual works to be sold are by minor masters; few have been exhibited in recent years.

The decision to sell the 32 paintings is not, overall, a negative comment on the museum's prior buying habits. More than three quarters of the works to be sold were gifts. Of the six bought by the museum, all are considered less than important, and two have been downgraded in their attributions, or authorship.
Regardless, something tells me the anti-deaccessioning police will be all over this.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NYS Regents Name 16-member Advisory Committee on Deaccessioning

The New York State Board of Regents has named a 16-member ad hoc advisory committee on deaccessioning.

Judith H. Dobrzynski has a list of the committee members and more here.

Philadelphia History Museum Deaccessions for Renovations

The Philadelphia History Museum has deaccessioned over 2,000 items to pay for a face-lift.

According to NPR news, this has raised (surprise) an issue.

The Philadelphia History Museum says it only sold items that fell outside of its mission and that they've been careful to use the proceeds — nearly $3 million — to care for the collection.

"We're not paying for paint. We're not paying for lights. We're not paying for development salaries," Sand says. "We're paying to create an environment where we can now exhibit the premier collection of Philadelphia material culture."

More via NPR here.