Adam M Levine says museums must look for new ways to raise revenue.

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When asked by ATG, the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio would not say which particular lots it guaranteed but its director and CEO Adam M Levine confirmed that it underwrote two lots offered at Sotheby’s and Christie’s since 2023.

The museum identified works that it sought to buy and then, having agreed to bid a minimum price beforehand, benefited from a financial reward when it was eventually outbid at the auction itself.

Levine said the museum received “unanimous support” in adopting this strategy from its art committee and described it as a “win-win” approach. “The guarantee allows us to establish the price we’re willing to pay for an artwork,” he said. “If we are overbid and don’t get the artwork, it is disappointing. But, in those instances, we walk away with funds to supplement the museum’s income.”

When asked if other museums might follow suit, he said: “As museum budgets become tighter and tighter, the industry must look for new ways to increase our revenue. Auction guarantees represent a new approach that presents a highly responsible way for museums to earn income from the value of their knowledge and expertise.”

Read more on this topic in ATG’s Q&A with Adam M Levine