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On the Defensive: Museums Deaccessioning from the Permanent Collection

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 27, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unnoticed taboo now raises controversy.

Major and minor art institutions to auction old-master paintings at Sothebys New York, and questions over the act of deaccessioning are again raised. Sails to refine or sharpen the scope of an institution's collection or to raise funds for a more appropriate artwork are allowed, but selling to cover operation costs is strictly forbidden.

While these sales may have gone under the radar in previous years, institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago are preparing to or have recently sold works and are under the spotlight. In these lean times trimming the fat may be the only way to survive, and deaccessioning may sadly be a necessary evil.

For more on this story visit The New York Times.

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