La Salle University, a private college in Philadelphia, is planning to auction dozens of works from its museum to raise millions of dollars for the university.
The school’s plan, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, is to sell 46 works by artists like by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Georges Rouault, Thomas Eakins and Henri Matisse. The art is expected to raise as much as $7 million, or more, which would be used to “to help fund teaching and learning initiatives in its new strategic plan,” according to the Inquirer.
A respected institution, the La Salle University Art Museum opened in 1976 and owns a permanent display of paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Renaissance to the present.
The process of selling art, known as deaccessioning, is a fraught one for museums; major professional organizations like the American Alliance of Museums condemn the sale of art to pay for expansions, physical repairs or ongoing expenses, as opposed to using the proceeds for the acquisition of other works or, perhaps, the care of a collection.
At times, government agencies that oversee nonprofit institutions have intervened to halt sales...
(From "The New York Times")