Over the last ten years, the staff of the Springfield Museums has carried out a thorough review of its permanent collections held at the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. One of the outcomes of this review has been the award of a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study the gallery installations at the GWV Smith Art Museum with the goal of making the collection more relevant and meaningful to the community we serve.
An important step in the comprehensive review process has been to identify each museum's core collecting goals and evaluate the holdings accordingly. The D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts concentrates on American and European paintings, while the GWV Smith Art Museum remains focused on the collections created by its namesake — Chinese and Japanese decorative arts from the 17th through 19th centuries, American 19th century painting and Middle Eastern art.
As a culmination of the collections review, the staff, supported by the Board of Trustees, has identified a number of pieces, including items from the Raymond A. Bidwell collection of ancient Asian art held at the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, which do not meet the primary collecting goals of either art museum. Given the cost of storage and maintenance, the Board of Trustees determined that the prudent course of action was to deaccession the objects from the collection and to sell them to raise funds for the acquisition of new works of art to strengthen the holdings. The world-renowned collection of Japanese ukiyo-e prints, also from the collection of Raymond A. Bidwell, remains in the collection of the Springfield Museums, and select examples will be featured in an exhibition at the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts in 2013.
Most of the deaccessioned items, including examples of ancient Chinese bronzes, ceramics and sculpture, will be offered through auction at Christie's New York in early 2013. The majority will be auctioned during Christie’s Asia Week sales in March 2013, while additional pieces will be sold during other Christie's sales, including Chinese Export art in January and two Interiors sales in March and April.
In keeping with accepted museum standards, proceeds from the sales of these works will be directed specifically to the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts’ acquisitions fund, to allow for future strategic acquisitions that support the primary mission of the institution.
The items chosen for deaccession include:
- Twenty-seven (27) examples of Chinese Export Ware porcelain
- Five (5) bronze sculptures and two (2) stone sculptures from India
- Two (2) Japanese bronze mirrors and two (2) Japanese ceramics
- Chinese art objects from 3000 B.C. – 1850 A.D., including: sixty-seven (67) examples of pottery and porcelain, ninety (90) bronze mirrors, twenty-one (21) bronze objects and one (1) textile.
- Two (2) ancient bronze figures
- Thirty-two (32) Chinese paintings and drawings (not scheduled to be auctioned by Christie’s – date of sale to be announced).
Inquiries regarding this statement should be directed to Matt Longhi, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, at 413.263.6800 ext. 459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.