Sunday, November 04, 2007

Randolph News

Christa Desrets had an update on the Randolph College deaccessioning in yesterday's Lynchburg News & Advance. She says one of the four paintings up for sale -- George Bellows’s "Men of the Docks," which will be sold at Christie's on Nov. 29 -- "is expected to set a new record for the most expensive piece of American art sold at auction." According to Christie's, "the current world auction record for an American painting was also set by a Bellows painting, 'Polo Crowd,' when it sold for $27.7 million in 1999." She also reports that a hearing date has not yet been set in the recently-filed lawsuit seeking to block the sale. A Christie's spokeswoman is quoted as saying, "Randolph College is the owner of the pictures, and it is our understanding and belief that the Board of Trustees has the legal authority to consign them for sale." The News & Advance also has the descriptions of the four works as they appear in the Christie's catalogue.

Meanwhile, the AP reported last week that Randolph is eliminating five academic departments, including nine full-time faculty positions. This follows a staff reduction in June, when the college announced it was cutting 30 jobs. I think one thing the anti-deaccessionists often don't sufficiently acknowledge is that there are always going to be trade-offs involved. It's very easy to sit back and say work should never be sold, but there are real costs that follow from that position.