Perhaps sensing an uptick in the economy — or eager to rid themselves of storage-related costs — art museums are unleashing a big wave of deaccessioned objects on the first round of fall auctions. The Hirshhorn, the Montclair Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago are the big deaccessioners at the early fall sales at auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s. [Image: The Hero and his Lady, Howard Chandler Christy, deaccessioned by the Hirshhorn.]
Here’s a roundup of works on offer and from whom they come:
The Hirshhorn, which has been especially active in recent auction seasons, is offering 29 pieces, including works by Alexander Istrati, Victor Vasarely (2), David Burliuk (2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Henry Moore (2, 3, 4), Karl Knaths (2, 3, 4), Max Ernst (2, 3, 4), Moses Soyer (2, 3), Walter Stuempfig (2), Raphael Soyer (2), Albert Andre and the Howard Chandler Christy above. (Just for fun: The Washington Post has a long history of ‘borrowing’ items such as this without crediting the original reporting, so hi Posties! See you soon!)
The Art Institute of Chicago has not been a prominent deaccessioner in recent seasons. It is offering a minor Julian Alden Weir portrait, Louis McClellan Potter (2), Anna Hyatt Huntington, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (2), Walter Ufer, Pauline Palmer, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, and five paintings by Arthur B. Davies: Summer and the Mother-Hearted, Evening Among the Ruins, Lake and Island, Sierra Nevada, Dirge in Spring, and Leda and the Dioscuri.
The St. Louis Art Museum is offering an Augustus Saint-Gaudens bronze relief and a Charles Grafly bronze bust. SLAM has been an aggressive deaccessioner in recent years, including the deaccessioning of ten works in 2007 in order to help enable the museum’s purchase of an Edgar Degas.
Montclair continues the sale discussed here by deaccessioning works by Allen Tucker, William Zorach, Joseph Floch (2, 3), Frederick Judd Waugh (2), Ernest Lawson, Bruce Crane, Thomas R. Manley, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt,
The Delaware Art Museum is offering a painting by Ogden Minton Pleissner.
The Carnegie Museum of Art is offering a minor 17th-century Korean screen.
UPDATE: In late June the Indianapolis Museum of Art deaccessioned dozens of works. Most have yet to be consigned to auction houses, but thanks to the IMA’s transparency policies you can see the list here. For the umpteenth time: Every American art museum should copy this.
Nota bene: I’ve tried to make this list as comprehensive as possible, but the auction house search tools aren’t perfect and it’s certainly possibly I missed a work or two. If readers notice something I missed, I’ll happily add it to this post. Thanks.