As part of its long-term plan to deaccession works to generate funds for the care of its collection, the Brooklyn Museum has announced a second round of works it plans to deaccession. These blue-chip works will head to sale at Sotheby’s New York modern and contemporary evening sale on October 28.
Sotheby’s has secured a remaining portion of works from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection to sell throughout the year across various sales, though it has yet to confirm an estimated total for the entire consignment. Together, the group of seven works scheduled to sell in the upcoming evening sale have a pre-sale low estimate of $12 million.
The news comes on the heels of its competitor auction house Christie’s sale of 9 Old Masters and European artworks on Thursday. Led by Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 16th-century painting Lucretia, which made $5 million, the Brooklyn Museum works generated a total of $6.6 million with buyer’s premium.
As part of the museum’s long-term collection review, proceeds from the sales will go toward the museum’s collection care fund. The fund also covers a small portion of pay for staff responsible for the direct maintenance of the collection. That includes conservators, photographers, curators, registrars, and art handlers. The museum’s goal is to raise $40 million in total. The move is meant to alleviate financial strain caused by the pandemic.
In a statement, Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak said the move will fund multiple tasks related to the collection’s longevity. “This effort is designed to support one of the most important functions of any museum—the care for its collection—and comes after several years of focused effort by the museum to build a plan to strengthen its collection, repatriate objects, advance provenance research, improve storage and more,” she said.
Among the major lots to go up for sale in the impressionist and modern segment is Claude Monet’s Seine landscape Les Iles à Port Villez (1897), estimated at $2.5 million–$3.5 million, and Joan Miró’s Couple d’amoureux dans la nuit (1966), featuring the artist’s signature moon and star motifs, which is valued at $1.2 million–$1.8 million. Also headed to sale is Henri Matisse’s forest scene Carrefour de Malabry (1918–19), valued at $800,000–$1.2 million, and Edgar Degas’s pastel on paper Femme nue assise s’essuyant les chevaux (1902), depicting a nude woman drying her hair after a bath, estimated at $1 million–$1.5 million.
Two works by Jean Dubuffet will also sell in the house’s contemporary art evening sale, including Le Mesager (1961) and Rue Tournique Bourlique (1963), each from the artist’s postwar period and each estimated at $2.5 million–$3.5 million. A dining table made in 1950 by Carlo Mollino valued at $1.5 million–$2 million will also be offered in the evening sale.
Correction, October 16, 2020: An earlier version of this article misstated that the direct care fund covers a portion of the salaries for museum executive leadership. The fund covers only a portion of pay for staff responsible for the direct maintenance of the collection.