web tracker
the art collectors » Deaccession Controversy Hits Orange County Museum of Art

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Deaccession Controversy Hits Orange County Museum of Art

California Impressionist Granville Redmond’s Silver and Gold was one of 18 paintings sold by the Orange County Museum of Art to an unnamed private collector.

The Orange County Museum of Art has fallen subject to scrutiny over their recent sale of 18 notable California Impressionist paintings to an unnamed private collector. OCMA’s situation is far different from recent controversy surrounding other institutions, such as the National Academywhose deaccession was not linked to the funding of new art, and in violation of accepted museum standards put forth by the American Association of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors. In an interview with the LA Times, OCMA’s director, Dennis Szakacs, affirmed that the sale would only be used to support the acquisition of new works, adding that the relinquished pieces no longer fit into the museum’s new focus of post-1950s art.

So why all the controversy?  By arranging the quiet sale to a private collector, some argue that OCMA ignored its duty of keeping art in the public trust, and that other public institutions should have had an opportunity to bid on the works, either privately or through auction. In addition, the works sold for a total $963,000, far below their estimated worth. Some skeptics are questioning why the museum would agree to a sale so under market value, speculating a preferential deal. One LA gallery director told Artinfo that two of the paintings were worth more than $1.5 million, while the LA Times quotes two specialists’ estimates of  Granville Redmond’s painting Silver and Gold at $1 million alone.

Szakacs contends that OCMA did make the most financially and ethically sound decision, noting that the realized price was favorable in the current down market and that ten of the works are already on view at the Nevada Art Museum, demonstrating the importance of selling the collection to one private enthusiast, rather that splitting up the pieces at auction.

Meanwhile, Artinfo notes that Bolton Colburn, director of the Laguna Art Museum, is attempting to seek out the unknown buyer in an effort to buy the paintings for approximately $1 million, little more than what was paid.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Legal, Market Talk, Museums, Uncategorized

Please leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.