Christie’s announced on Tuesday an auction of works from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection of English furniture and decorative arts to benefit the Met’s acquisition fund in that department. The sale, which includes more than 200 lots, will take place October 27, in New York. The works up for auction are being deaccessioned as the museum prepares a renovation of its British galleries.
In a statement, Luke Syson, the Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, had the following to say: “This has been just the right moment thoroughly to reassess our British collections for the first time in half a century. In planning this sale, our key concern and challenge in deciding which pieces to retain, and which to liberate, has been to determine which pieces belong in a museum and which, on the contrary, would sing louder and better in someone’s home. We have considered what stories arise from which objects, and more practically how much space we will have in our galleries and indeed our storerooms. Moreover, as the Met’s collections have grown, some duplication has been inevitable. So this has also been the opportunity to identify gaps in our collection[.]”
The items that “sing louder” outside the museum include “17th century Jacobean oak coffers,” “elegant 18th century walnut and mahogany seat furniture”—with “colorful needlework covers,” according to Christie’s—and “a stylish 19th century Regency sofa table with lion-mask corners.” Some works are available in the $500-5,000 estimate, while others have estimates in the six figure range.