Friday, April 29, 2022

Art Museum Deaccessions to Diversify

For some reason the issue of a nonprofit art museum selling some of its collection off resonates at a high level for me. Sometimes, they sell off in order to generate working capital. Probably never really a good idea because you are not solving the long term problem of a sustainable future for the museum. 

The Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio just announced it is selling off a number of Impressionist works in order to diversify it's collection. Of course the fascinating question remains how do you best diversify - by the folks who come to your museum and are included, or by the story your art works tell? I'm not sure of the answer and it is probably a bit of both, but it's a fascinating and important question to ask. Obviously a Museum needs to grow and change over the years and so curating its collection is key.

From the story in Hyperallergenic: 

"The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) will send three works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to auction next month. Proceeds from the sale, an estimated $60 million, will be used to build a more diverse collection with the goal of “broadening the narrative of art history,” the museum said in a statement.

The TMA will deaccession Renoir’s “Nu s’essuyant (The Bather)” (1912), Cézanne’s “Clairière (The Glade)” (c. 1895), and Matisse’s “Fleurs ou Fleurs devant un portrait” (1923). The works will be offered as part of Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction on May 17."

Museum leaders say its collection is already strong in that area and this opens up resources to expand its collection in other ways.

Philip Hackney

Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink


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