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Brooklyn Museum is selling Old Masters

The Brooklyn Museum is the first major U.S. institution to take advantage of this two-year window. With an encyclopedic collection and a large building that is far from Manhattan’s Museum Mile, the organization has long struggled financially. Ms. Pasternak said it is aiming to establish a $40 million fund that can generate $2 million a year, to pay for the collection’s care.

Ms. Pasternak added that the museum was being “conservative” in its cost estimates to make sure the money would go only to direct care, like cleaning or transporting an artwork. It would also help cover a percentage of the salaries of those involved in such care, like registrars, curators, conservators and collection managers. The money raised will not cover utilities, exhibitions or public programs. And the works to be sold represent a small fraction of the museum’s collection, which consists of more than 160,000 objects.

The deaccessioned works — selected by the curators and approved by the board — “are good examples of their kind but don’t diminish our collections in their absence,” Ms. Pasternak said. “We have a deep collection of high-quality art, but we have works that — like many museums of our size — have not been shown ever or for decades.”

They include works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Donato de’ Bardi, Giovanni dal Ponte, Francesco Botticini and a portrait attributed to Lorenzo Costa, all of which will be sold in Christie’s old masters live auction on Oct. 15.

That same day, the auction house’s European Art sale will include works from the museum by Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, Hendrik Willem Mesdag, Charles-François Daubigny and Philip Wilson Steer. Works by Jehan-Georges Vibert and an anonymous artist from the Netherlandish School will also be sold online starting on Oct. 1.

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by Anonymousreply 47Last Friday at 6:09 AM

I wonder who’s going to make bank with these sales...

by Anonymousreply 109/16/2020

There is no preview yet. I'm curious to see what exactly they are selling.

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by Anonymousreply 209/16/2020

All the buyers will be Russian or Middle Eastern.

by Anonymousreply 309/16/2020

The Brooklyn Museum was founded with such high-minded ideals but unfortunately not endowed accordingly. Like St Louis Art Museum, the edifice is beyond magnificent in both scale and design, but the collections...not so much.

Maybe some Broodlynites like Matt D. or Maggie G. can throw them a few million to call off the sale.

by Anonymousreply 409/16/2020

When you need to start selling off the family silver, the writing is on the wall.

by Anonymousreply 509/16/2020

Can't they do the nude calendar and behind-the-scenes video thing to raise money? Desperate times call for desperate measures. People still collect these things, you know......

by Anonymousreply 609/16/2020

Her father Boris must be spinning in his grave.

by Anonymousreply 709/16/2020

Why can't Lens Dunham kick in a few bucks? She could forego another tattoo and donate it to culture.

by Anonymousreply 809/16/2020

The Brooklyn Museum has always had a troubled history. In the 1930s, they demolished the grand staircase because it was perceived as elitist. The closed the costume collection in the early 1990s because "nobody was interested in the clothing of dead white women." This was after a highly successful exhibition of Worth, Doucet and Pingat gowns.

They had an excellent collection of dolls both antique and prototypes from NYC doll companies that became a lending library so the community children could have a nice doll. Obviously, the dolls were destroyed over time.

by Anonymousreply 909/16/2020

Yes, sure, sell the stuff by old (ew!) male (OPPRESSIVE) white (EEEEEVIL!!) artists to acquire something more socially relevant. Perhaps a shat-on, bedraggled, torn bridal train floating in a tank of rancid piss, after having been worn at a protest by a Muslim trans womyn of color and titled REPARATIONS, which can be mounted on a white plinth and admired by throngs of morons who read about it in the NY Times and had to buy tickets for it weeks in advance.

The rich liberal Brooklynites who subsidize the place will eat it up, pony up for the platinum-memberships, and casually drop a mention of it during their next 25 conversations.

by Anonymousreply 1009/16/2020

It seems they picked the biggest ticket items that would provoke the least outcry, because they are expecting 40 million from the sale, to support operations in their painting departments. I don't see how 40 million reliably produces 2 million a year in return while still growing the endowment, but what do I know.

by Anonymousreply 1109/16/2020

If that Corot is the best of the bunch, meh... are we missing much? I agree with the Times commenters. A few rich benefactors can bid on them and loan them back to the museum.

by Anonymousreply 1209/16/2020

They claim not to be selling the best stuff.

by Anonymousreply 1309/16/2020

But how many Cranachs could they have?

by Anonymousreply 1409/16/2020

R15 one amateur sleuth in the comments of the article claims that this in fact might be their only Cranach.

by Anonymousreply 1509/16/2020

[quote]The Brooklyn Museum has always had a troubled history. In the 1930s, they demolished the grand staircase because it was perceived as elitist.

I don't know if I'm the only person who thinks it or if it's just that no one's had the guts to say it publicly, but the "Flying Saucer Stuck to the Façade of a Neoclassical Building" renovation they did about 15 years ago is the architectural equivalent of smashing the Pietà with a hammer. Absolute vandalism of one of McKim, Mead and White's local masterpieces.

by Anonymousreply 1609/16/2020

R15 yeah I just read that. And the directrice is apparently a big gaping cunt.

I can't be down with selling the Cranach. The times article is weak sauce. No investigation whatsoever.

by Anonymousreply 1709/16/2020

That’s more for the Getty Museum, or other well-funded collections, I guess.

by Anonymousreply 1809/16/2020

And how does the museum have 1 Cranach and keep it in storage for decades? What the fuck. Woke bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 1909/16/2020

Well if they end up in UAE in a fabulous museum with hordes of tourists, I suppose that's OK. Since nobody can be assed to get to Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn.

by Anonymousreply 2009/16/2020

I completely agree with you, R16. I used to be a member of the Brooklyn Museum, but not after they built that new entrance.

When their development people called asking me to re-up my membership, I told them that was not happening and would not happen until they removed all that shit stuck to the front of the building. "Oh, we love it!," she told me. "Then you're fools," I told her. It looks like a huge hamburger stand and all that is missing is a team of car hops on roller skates with big trays of burgers.

It's a very visible sign of mismanagement by the board and the administration.

by Anonymousreply 2109/16/2020

Why is there no "NO" option in that stupid poll in OP.

by Anonymousreply 2209/16/2020

To whom,

They should be able to sell to another Museum. This is so sad if they are selling to a private rich person. It's gone. It will be lost.

by Anonymousreply 2309/16/2020

It's a shonda = no, bubala

by Anonymousreply 2409/16/2020

I'm sorry sir I don't speak Jive

by Anonymousreply 2509/16/2020

The Museum is really only worth visiting for Judy Chicago's awesome masterpiece, "The Dinner Party."

All the art by dead white cisgender males in that big barn should be sold off, or burned if it doesn't sell. Empty the place out and make room for art by current artists of color and/or non-heteronormative!

by Anonymousreply 2609/16/2020

Yes that would attract lots of donors, r26!

by Anonymousreply 2709/16/2020

Yes maybe all the new fluid non-gendered artists of color should live there and create art. Stipends of 95K a year plus full medical.

by Anonymousreply 2809/16/2020

If these works have not been exhibited for decades, whose fault is that?

by Anonymousreply 2909/16/2020

Perhaps they can send their works to other museums around the country and close up shop. Does NYC really need that place when other burrows, such as Manhattan, have fabulous museums?

by Anonymousreply 3009/16/2020

It's one of the weakest museums in NYC or even the greater metro area. I went once for the Bowie exhibit and wasn't impressed with the rest of the museum.

It's tacky to accept art - which was probably donated - and not show it and then sell it. They should have their non-profit status removed.

Everyone thinks Brooklyn is so hip - they just want to be hip. They have no comprehension of creating a memorable and ethical museum.

by Anonymousreply 3109/16/2020

It's actually one of the oldest museums in the city. (The Met was founded in 1870 with the core of the present building completed in 1902)

[quote] The roots of the Brooklyn Museum extend back to the 1823 founding by Augustus Graham of the Brooklyn Apprentices' Library in Brooklyn Heights. The Library moved into the Brooklyn Lyceum building on Washington Street in 1841. Two years later the institutions merged to form the Brooklyn Institute, which offered exhibitions of painting and sculpture and lectures on diverse subjects. In 1890, under its director Franklin Hooper, Institute leaders reorganized as the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and began planning the Brooklyn Museum. The museum remained a subdivision of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, along with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum until the 1970s when all became independent.[3]

[quote] Opened in 1897, the Brooklyn Museum building is a steel frame structure clad in masonry, designed in the neoclassical revival style by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White and built by the Carlin Construction Company. The initial design for the Brooklyn Museum was four times as large as the built version; the final design reflects a compromise to the specifications of the New York City government.

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by Anonymousreply 3209/16/2020

In 2013 the Metropolitan Museum deaccessioned a painting they deemed to be "school of Rubens". But it was soon discovered to actually be a portrait by Rubens of his daughter, and is being included in the current catalogue raisonne of Rubens' work.

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by Anonymousreply 3309/16/2020

The truth is that museums are in trouble. Perhaps it is from years of attending children's museums, but young adults can't stand not being able to touch or interact with exhibits. They are not interested in much of anything that is before their time. They look for offense in everything.

On top of that, the major auction houses are being very aggressive about getting art onto the market. I would not be the least surprised if one of the auction houses threatened a lawsuit over the art that had not been on display. They have been known to challenge the tax exempt status of museums to get art on the market. (In the case of smaller museums, they use handicap access as a sledgehammer. In most cases the museum cannot afford the expensive renovations. Either they have to sell art or artifacts to fund the work, or they have to close all together. Either way the auction house wins.)

by Anonymousreply 34Last Thursday at 2:12 AM

They had two Cranachs, but sold the inferior work, a "workshop of Cranach" portrait in 2013 (not a great year to sell.)

Selling off good works by important artists without demonstrably good selection criteria? And to fund some very vaguely stated conservation works? Two bad ideas.

Where the Cranachs are:

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by Anonymousreply 35Last Thursday at 3:05 AM

It seems to me this directrice and her board and development office should be able to budget operating expenses of this museum. The comments on NYT say she stacked the board with "losers" who do not contribute rather protect her at the head. Ah, honey, that's not how a major museum operates successfully.

by Anonymousreply 36Last Thursday at 9:10 AM

How much of it was Nazi loot?

by Anonymousreply 37Last Thursday at 9:37 AM

r32 I'm sure that building will make a great addition to Bezo's monopoly sized portfolio of mansions. He can do wonders with the space.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Thursday at 11:41 AM

[quote] It's one of the weakest museums in NYC or even the greater metro area. I went once for the Bowie exhibit and wasn't impressed with the rest of the museum.

Not sure.. It's not the Met but it has other charms. It'd be a solid museum anywhere else in my opinion.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Thursday at 5:45 PM

The Brooklyn Museum is a world class museum and has strong collections. It was the first museum in the world to collect African Art as art and not as artifacts. Its Egyptian collections are in the top three of the country. It was an early collector of Native American Art, again as art as opposed to artifacts.

As mentioned earlier the Costume Collection was a crowning jewel. The museum was set up for designers and industrial artists to be able to come and research from the materials it had. Housing and caring for the collection became prohibitive as textiles are one of the most fragile of materials. It was annexed by the Metropolitan Museum within the last decade and materials are still identified as coming from the Brooklyn Museum collection. Because of the Met Gala funding they have the resources to care for it.

The American Art collections, including Decorative Arts, are very strong including over 20 Period Rooms including one from the Rockefeller townhouse, an Art Deco room and a full Dutch Colonial residence. They also have a unique collection of architectural fragments including pieces from Penn Station. The Prints and Drawings was again an important study collection and is quite extensive. They have 12 panels of Assyrian reliefs from the Royal Palace.

If the Brooklyn Museum was anywhere else in the world it would be considered an outstanding jewel, especially as an encyclopedic museum, but being in the shadow of Manhattan it has always struggled to capture the stature, funding and audience that it deserves.

by Anonymousreply 40Last Thursday at 6:24 PM

[quote] If the Brooklyn Museum was anywhere else in the world it would be considered an outstanding jewel, especially as an encyclopedic museum, but being in the shadow of Manhattan it has always struggled to capture the stature, funding and audience that it deserves.

I just checked and Wikipedia says that if NYC were broken up then Brooklyn would be the third largest city in the country. As I said upthread at R4, it is on par with SLAM--notable, but not quite worthy of a top tier city in it's present condition.

by Anonymousreply 41Last Thursday at 6:32 PM

More on the paintings.

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by Anonymousreply 42Last Thursday at 10:23 PM

Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Lucretia” is great. I trust the museum has the sense this loss wouldn't create a huge hole. From the Art Newspaper article if anyone doesn't want to read it: It's the only Cranach they had. The article's hinting it's a little deteriorated. And there's a better Cranach in National Gallery in London which is of course doesn't do a lot for NY museum goers. Hmmm.. The Charles-François Daubigny is a clearer sale item..presumably one of seven similar paintings they have of him doing french rivers.

by Anonymousreply 43Last Friday at 3:37 AM

Perhaps the Cranach is the bait so the sale looks like quality. And then a couple of names. And then half a dozen things no one will miss.

by Anonymousreply 44Last Friday at 3:42 AM

Perhaps they could use the sorry state of the Cranach to raise funds for their endowment to keep it, and restore all their masterpieces. This seems like lazy, easy, lousy management by the direction.

1,126,501 students in NYC public schools. Must be 1/2 in Brooklyn and Queens. Brooklyn Museum and maybe MMI in Queens should be the center pieces of arts education in those two Boroughs combined. Both institutions known for rather shitty direction.

by Anonymousreply 45Last Friday at 5:39 AM

The Museum occupies that triangle next to Prospect Park. Shared with the Public Library, Mt. Prospect Park and the Botanic Gardens. Next door are some important high schools. "Mt. Prospect Park" is pretty unused. They should have sold development rights to Mt. Prospect for a fantastic headquarters to a huge conglomerate such as Amazon, Google, Apple etc and forced them to adopt the Library, Museum and Gardens to enrich them and secure them.

This is Philanthropic Development 101.

by Anonymousreply 46Last Friday at 6:03 AM

It's a "fire sale".

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by Anonymousreply 47Last Friday at 6:09 AM
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