To provide guidance on appropriate policy and procedure for deaccessioning (removing from the collection) artwork from the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection.
April, 2023Responsible Office
The permanent removal of an art object from the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection necessitates serious consideration. Generally, art objects are deaccessioned because of practical considerations such as the costs of storage, maintenance or restoration.
To deaccession an art object the University’s legal ownership must be confirmed and any special restrictions the donor and/or artist may have placed on the artwork’s use or disposition must be considered. The Office of the Curator will consult with the Office of the General Counsel with respect to all such restrictions. The donor and/or artist or their respective estates may be notified of a pending disposal of artwork to insure good will even if there is no legal requirement to notify the donor or artist.
Deaccession of artwork acquired through the 1% Fine Arts Program of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is subject to existing contractual agreements with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
The Art Collection Advisory Committee will evaluate requests to deaccession art objects and to exchange art objects; vote by majority to deaccession and to exchange art objects; and authorize the Office of the Curator to deaccession or to exchange art objects. The Office of the Curator will notify the President of all deaccessions and refer proposed deaccessions or exchanges of art objects appraised at $ 100,000.00 or above for the President’s approval. Art objects at an appraised value of $100,000 or above that are deaccessed should be reported to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance.
Exchanged art objects will enter the University Art Collection. Special consideration for receiving exchanged art objects will be given to any school or department that has provided artwork for exchange.
In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code, the Office of the Curator will notify the Office of the Treasurer if a deaccession is to occur within two years of the receipt of the donation.
If artwork from the University Art Collection is sold, proceeds will be distributed to the Office of the Curator with the following exceptions:
If stolen artwork is not recovered and the Office of Risk Management and Insurance obtains insurance company recoveries for lost art property, payments will be distributed to the Office of the Curator. If artwork is damaged or destroyed as a result of an insurable incident and the Office of Risk Management and Insurance obtains insurance company recoveries, payments will be distributed to the Office of the Curator.
A school or department wishing to deaccession a work of art shall make a request in writing to the Office of the Curator, citing the reasons for such a request, as well as any gift restriction and any special circumstances known to the school or department.
Deaccessioning Works of Limited or No Value
The Art Collection Advisory Committee will evaluate requests to deaccession art works that are irreparably damaged, of little to no monetary or historical value, or that are thematically inappropriate for public display; will vote by majority to deaccession such artworks; and will authorize the Office of the Curator to remove these objects from the University’s Art Collection and inventory. All art works below $ 5,000 in value may be considered for deaccession following this protocol. Due diligence in reviewing deeds of gifts and donor’s intent should be completed prior to deaccessioning. The Curator’s Office will submit images and a proposed list of works to each Committee member for their review prior to voting for deaccession. In the event of irreparably damaged works, the Curator’s Office should appropriately dispose of them. Works of little or no value may be deaccessioned by auction, given away at a public event, or disposed of, as determined by the Art Collection Advisory Committee.
Artworks above $ 5,000, in the “core” collection should follow the previously established deaccession protocol as stated in the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection Policy.