Two wonderful museums recently announced plans to sell major works of art. In one case, some 40 paintings, American masterpieces among them, will be sold at auction. In another, more than 400 photographs will also be sold. The former case has prompted a nationwide outcry, the latter…effectively nothing. The differences and similarities between the two underscore the aspirational rules that govern what is known as “deaccessioning,” but also remind us that principles and the goals they are meant to reach are not always the same thing.
Topics: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Delaware Museum of Art, American Alliance of Museums, Lee Rosenbaum, MoMA, Deaccessioning, AAM, Norman Rockwell, Association of Art Museum Directors, Alexander Calder, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, AAMD, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pittsfield, General Electric, Waconah Park, Berkshire Museum, Housatonic, Lake Onota, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Zenas Crane, Williamstown, Lenox, North Adams, Mass MoCA, Felix Salmon
A lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey about the authenticity of a painting sold more than 20 years ago that the gallery allegedly represented was a Norman Rockwell (himself a client of my firm long before my time), but which the plaintiff now alleges was not by the American legend. The case underscores the precarious position of authenticators, and the upside of the bill that has been pending in New York for almost a year now.
Topics: authentication, authenticity, “Mending his Ways”, Harold Anderson, Laurence Casper, Gallery 63 Antiques, Norman Rockwell, Mobil Oil, Galleries, Isabel Knispel, U.C.C., Barry Knispel, “Patching Pants”