The Montclair Art Museum has been cleaning the storage rooms in an effort to deaccession works that are not on view. The campaign has caused a stir with conflicting reports on whether the museum is raising money to acquire new art or simply raising money to comply with bond covenants.
While all that has been taking place, the museum has had to deal with another headache: donors. More specifically, donors who longer have much of a relationship to the museum. The is portrait of William B. Dickinson is by William Merritt Chase. The museum has consigned it for auction but could not find a descendant of the family who donated the portrait in 1976.
Well, one finally emerged. And he’s “pissed.” So the museum has decided to withdraw the painting from the sale. That doesn’t mean it’s going back on view:
“We are not in the business of alienating donors and friends and community,” Urbanelli said. “It’s coming back home.” That doesn’t mean that the portrait will actually grace the museum’s walls. “The truth,” Urbanelli said, “is it has not been on view in a very long time. That’s how it found its way onto this list.”
Controversial Painting Withdrawn from Christie’s (Baristanet.com)