Cleveland Art Museum To Auction European Paintings
The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio is the latest to deaccession some older art. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the museum will be selling off 32 works as part of the auction of "Important Old Master Paintings" at Sotheby's in New York starting on January 27. As with many other deaccessioning efforts, this one is selling off many works that haven't been exhibited in recent years. There may even be some deals to be had, 21 lots from the museum have a low-end estimate of under $10,000. To some collectors, works that have been in a museum can have more value because of provenance. Most of the works to be sold were given as gifts. Earnings from the sale will be used to buy more paintings for the collection.
In 1949 the museum bought the pair of paintings shown above which depict Roman hero Horatius Cocles defending the Tiber. They were believed were by the important 18th century Italian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo but experts later confirmed that they were done by a follower of Tiepolo. The painting are being sold as one lot with an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
The museum is currently going through a $350 million expansion and renovation project to be completed in 2013. Architect Rafael Viñoly has taken on the project to renovate, repair and expand the venerable institution adding new space for programming and events as well as a new café and other visitor amenities. It is the largest cultural project in the history of the state of Ohio.
Deaccessioning has become relatively common as museums continue to hone their collections and are increasingly aware of the cost of storing artwork that is not frequently exhibited. Recently the Georgia O'Keeffe museum sold off one of the artist's paintings. Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art is selling off five works by portrait artist George Romney at Christie's on January 26.