Museum deaccessioning

The decision to sell works from museum collections is usually related to the need to raise funds for restoration, new acquisitions or other projects. Selling works from public collections, in particular items that were once donated, has often proved controversial.


Buyer sought to keep Salvador Dalí champagne lamps in the UK

02 June 2018

Lamps designed by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí have been blocked from export in the hope a buyer can be found to pay £440,000 to keep them in the UK.

Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Portrait of Clara Serena, the Artist's Daughter’

‘Copy’ of Rubens sold by Met Museum now offered at Christie’s after attribution upgraded

02 May 2018

A painting thought to be a copy of a Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) portrait when it was deaccessioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art will now be offered at Christie’s in London with a full attribution. It will carry an estimate of £3m-5m.


Museum acquisitions under threat from lack of funding report warns

16 February 2018

Museums in the UK have been selling off their collections and have been unable to buy new works of art due to funding issues, a “deeply depressing” report has revealed.


Buyer sought to keep £500,000 Salvador Dalí Mae West lips sofa in the UK

17 November 2017

A Salvador Dalí Mae West lips sofa has been blocked from export in the hope a buyer can be found to pay nearly £500,000 to keep it in the UK.


Stubbs painting rediscovered after “one of the biggest deaccessioning blunders”

14 March 2017

A painting by George Stubbs previously believed to be a copy will be offered by The Parker Gallery at BADA 2017 opening in Chelsea this week.

Fangzun wine vessel from the late Shang dynasty

Five Chinese rarities from Japan’s Fujita Museum being sold at Christie’s New York

27 October 2016

Christie’s New York have announced the sale of more than 30 pieces of Chinese art from Osaka’s Fujita Museum which will be offered at auction next year.

Bronze cat from Toledo Museum of Art

Sixty ancient works from Ohio museum to be sold at Christie’s

13 October 2016

Antiquities from the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio are to be offered at Christie’s in New York this month to benefit the Museum’s acquisitions fund.

Chrysanthemum vase from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

More deaccessions from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

16 May 2016

Christie’s are to sell another major slice of deaccessioned material from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, just under a year after they held a dedicated auction devoted to a dispersal from the Met’s holdings of English furniture and works of art.

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Museum closure puts future of Gillows furniture collection in doubt

22 January 2016

Leading specialists in antique furniture have joined a campaign to preserve a touchstone collection of Gillows furniture ahead of multiple museum closures in Lancashire.

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New blacklist threat for deaccessioning museums

09 April 2015

A fresh warning has gone out to UK museums and galleries that they could face future funding cuts if they sell items from their collections.

Museums could face tougher penalties for selling off works

04 September 2014

Stronger sanctions against museums that sell off items from their collections donated by the public are being considered.

New art sales guidelines aimed at asset-stripping local authorities

17 April 2014

The Arts Council and other museum authorities have drawn up new guidelines for councils thinking of selling off artworks to raise funds amid sharp budget cuts.

Call for independent trust to rule on public collection sales

24 March 2014

Campaigners are calling on the government to create an independent trust to prevent Southampton City Council selling off artworks from its public collection.

October ruling on Wedgwood Museum's fate

20 September 2011

High Court judge to decide if 10,000-piece holding must be sold off

Campaign to fund new home for Broadfield

17 August 2009

GLASS collector Graham Cooley, auctioneer Will Farmer and glass specialist Andy McConnell have offered to spearhead a fundraising drive for a new home for the Broadfield House Glass Museum collection.


Protestors buy more time to save glass museum

16 February 2009

AN outcry from interest groups has bought more time to save the Broadfield House Glass Museum at Stourbridge, which was earmarked for closure by Dudley council.


Museums Association has change of heart on auction sales

03 March 2008

A MAJOR policy shift by the Museums Association means British museums will now consider selling at auction as a way to safeguard core collections for the future.

Gilbert Collection to leave Somerset House for V&A

12 November 2007

THE Gilbert Collection is to move from Somerset House on London’s Embankment to the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington next year.


Artemis outshines Jenkins Venus at $25.5m

18 June 2007

In the UK there is a tendency to think of institutions as the natural permanent home for the best cultural artefacts. But American museums’ policy of deaccessioning means there can be second chances to buy stellar objects.

Christie’s to sell Poole archive

16 March 2004

WHEN Poole Pottery went into administration last June, it could have been a sad day for one of Britain’s best-known producers of table, giftwares and art pottery. But the Dorset pottery has risen phoenix-like under new ownership and is once again producing ceramics as well as launching four new giftware ranges.