In a shocking last-minute move, the Baltimore Museum of Art has “decided to pause” its plans to sell three works from its collection with Sotheby’s, according to a press release. The news was announced by the Maryland institution just two hours before two of the works were expected to hit the auction block in New York.
In a release, the museum said that the decision was made following “a private conversation between the BMA’s leadership and the Association of Art Museum Directors,” a prominent industry group that offers recommendations about deaccessioning. Previously, members of the BMA’s leadership had staunchly defended the plan in the face of a mounting outcry that resulted in a call for a formal investigation and the resignation of two board members.
The museum had previously planned to sell works by Brice Marden, Clyfford Still, and Andy Warhol; the Marden and Still abstractions were to be auctioned tonight. The Warhol, a 25-and-a-half-foot-long version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, was to be sold privately by Sotheby’s and was given an estimate of $40 million. Together, the works were to bring in a collected $65 million.