The Berkshire Museum deserves credit for the level of transparency they’ve chosen in selling 40 works of art as the museum shifts focus toward natural history.
Sotheby’s will be the venue for the sale of an Alexander Calder sculpture, two Norman Rockwell works and others including a Frederic Church painting, according to the Berkshire Eagle:
The museum on Monday disclosed the list of 40 works to be auctioned by Sotheby’s later this year. The decision to identify the works was a reversal of its initial decision to keep the information private. In addition to two Norman Rockwell paintings, “Shuffleton’s Barber Shop” and “Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop,” which were previously disclosed, the list includes two sculptures by Calder, paintings by Church of the Hudson River School, and Durrie, whose depictions of winter scenes were popularized by Currier and Ives.
The proceeds will be used to add to the museum’s endowment and make renovations to the building. There’s sure to be outrage at this move by many who believe de-accessioning work can only be done to build funds for acquiring more work.
But a museum shifting its educational mission is effectively doing that when it takes the proceeds and devotes the money to an endowment.
Berkshire Museum to sell works by Calder, Church and Durrie | (The Berkshire Eagle)