Monday, March 12, 2007

Salisbury on Deaccessioning

Stephan Salisbury, who did a great job covering the Gross Clinic affair for the Philadelphia Inquirer, had a piece in Sunday's paper on the two other big deaccessionings in the news lately, Fisk University's sale of two major paintings and the Albright-Knox's sale of about 200 works.

The 30-day "hold" on the Fisk sale -- during which the University was supposed to explore alternatives to the proposed sale -- expires next Sunday, and Salisbury reports that "no serious offers" have come in. He also gets the Tennessee Attorney General to confirm that, in structuring the settlement, "I borrowed from the experience of The Gross Clinic in Philadelphia."

Salisbury says "[u]ltimately, such delays hark back to the so-called Waverly criteria, rules governing the export of 'national treasures' from Great Britain." Derek Fincham summarized the Waverly criteria here:

"The UK has a limited export restriction scheme, which temporarily halts the export of a work if it falls under one of the three Waverley Criteria:
1. Is it so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune?
2. Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance?
3. Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular branch of art, learning or history?
If a work can fall under any one of these three categories, export will be temporarily restricted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) so a UK buyer can raise enough money to keep the work in the UK."