posted by CAA — Jan 24, 2018
CAA, the largest professional organization of visual artists and art historians, was disappointed to learn that La Salle University in Philadelphia plans to sell part of its art collection at the university’s museum. The university is currently planning to sell 46 works of art at a Christies’s auction estimated to bring in between $4.8 and $7.3 million. The university states that the proceeds from the sale will be “invested in the future of our university to help grow and to be financially sustainable. More importantly, we are really looking to enhance student experience and student outcome.” A university spokesperson further points out that the decision to deaccession the works was the result of months of careful consideration by its Board of Trustees, which examined all of the university’s assets and made a decision that select artworks from their art museum could be reallocated for funding the university’s new strategic five-year plan. Read the Artnet News story about the deaccession.
Similar to other cultural professional organizations, CAA has set guidelines for conditions under which items in museums collections are to be divested or deaccessioned. CAA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian said, “We join our colleagues from the American Alliance of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors in questioning this sale. CAA’s guidelines make it clear that art held by museums is not to be considered ‘an asset’ in the traditional sense. Museums should sell work from their collection only under very limited circumstances. And best practices dictate that the sale of the proceeds should only be used to acquire new works of art. We hope that the university Board of Trustees rethinks this position about selling the works that it holds in public trust.”