You may have read about recent efforts by the trustees of RandolphCollege
(formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College) to sell four major paintings from the
permanent collection of the school's Maier Museum of Art. A group founded last
year by alumnae of R-MWC is fighting this in the courts. I have attached a
recent message from this group (Preserve Educational Choice) outlining the
recent legal developments and explaining the need for a bond to ensure the
safety of the art moving forward. You may have seen this or similar messages on
other list serves such as AmArt. The group is also vigorously fund raising in Lynchburg, Virginia.
former director of the Maier Museum of Art
If you have questions, please respond off-list to firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Choice message:
Many of you have been following the fierce
battle being waged in Lynchburg, Virginia to prevent the
unethical deaccessioning of four paintings from the Maier
Museum of Art.
Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College), of which the Maier
Museum of Art
is a part, removed four paintings from the Maier Museum on October 1 and
shipped them to Christie's in New York to be sold at auction to add funds to
the College's $153 million endowment. This action has been the subject of
public letters and requests for reconsideration of the decision from the
Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Art Museum Curators,
College Art Association, Association of College and UniversityMuseums
and Galleries, the Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Virginia
Association of Museums.
Two lawsuits have been filed to protect the art at the MaierMuseum
and these suits have larger implications for art professionals and museums
across the nation. If Randolph College is successful in selling art from the
Maier Museum for general fund purposes it could have a chilling effect on
donations to other museums by making donors wary of whether or not proper
deaccessioning policies will be followed (Randolph's trustees simply ignored
the Maier's published deaccessioning policy) and could also encourage other
institutions looking for ready cash to consider selling their museum
collections for general expense purposes instead of preserving and
strengthening their collections for future generations.
What can you do to help? On November 16, the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a temporary
injunction issued by the Lynchburg Circuit Court to prevent the sale of the
four paintings removed on October 1 while the related lawsuits proceed. The
Court lowered the bond amount required to initiate the injunction by 90 percent
to $1 million. The people of Lynchburg
and alumnae of R-MWC have until December 3rd to raise this full amount.
The larger art community's help is needed to raise this amount in such a short
timeframe and pay for litigation costs in the two art lawsuits. If you care
about ethical deaccessioning, donor intent, the bond between museums and the
public they serve, and how the sale of art to add to a generous $153 million
endowment could negatively impact small museums and collections across the United States,
please send a donation to the Art Defense Fund today.
To donate, please send your check to:
Preserve Educational Choice, Inc. P.O. Box 29612 Richmond, VA23242
Please make the check payable to "Preserve Educational Choice, Inc."
and write "Art Defense Fund" on the memo line. All donations to this
fund are restricted to preserving the art, not the general restoration of Randolph-Macon
Woman's College. You can also make a donation via PayPal through the PEC
website. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the amount allowed by law.
More information about the art lawsuits can be found on the PEC website at http://www.preserveeducationalchoice.org/art.htm
including links to the art litigation filings, the letters from art
professional associations, and press coverage of the issue and its implications.