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The Met To Sell $1M Worth Of Copies Of Its Art To Recoup Losses From COVID-19
By Ell Ko, 21 Sep 2021
Image via Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
Acclaimed auction house Christie's announced on Friday that it would be selling a selection of pieces from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as the museum scrambles to replace a gaping loss in revenue attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the works going on offer in the three separate sales will be duplicates from the Met’s collections, though, so don’t worry; your favorite piece will still be in its place at the gallery.
This move is in line with the Association of Art Museum Directors policy that allows institutions to raise funds from deaccession—removing an item from a museum or art gallery in order to sell it—and direct the money towards collection care.
The policy is only valid through April 2022. With the date fast approaching, it appears the Met has decided to take advantage of it while it can.
Artnet reports that some of the pieces will include works by Robert Frank, Roy Lichtenstein, and Frank Stella.
These, it states, will be able to raise around US$1.4 million in total. But this still isn’t enough to make up for the US$150 million losses the museum has suffered thus far.
The first batch of works going on sale will cover the theme of the history of photography. An online sale of 168 lots of Civil War photography is planned to run from September 24 to October 7. These will include seven Robert Frank images from his book The Americans on the October 6 live Photographs auction.
Following this, prints and multiples will also be included in a sale titled A Graphic Century: 1875–1975 which will run from November 4 to November 18, as detailed in Christie’s press release.
Max Hollein, director of the Met, had previously explained to Artnet that the funds raised from these sales will go towards the museum’s staff.
“It seems appropriate to use the proceeds of our regular deaccession program to support salaries for collection care staff in this exceptional year,” he said.
There’s already an annual US$10 million deaccessioning program in place. The works sold there, he clarified, are “duplicates, multiples, copies of the same thing [we have] in better quality.”
More information about the pieces that will go on sale can be found at Christie’s.
[via Artnet, cover image via Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com]
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