About the Deaccession
In early January 2018, La Salle University announced its plans to deaccession a select group of artworks from the La Salle University Art Museum collection. This page provides frequently asked questions about the deaccession, and also a PDF file of the 46 artworks with visual images.
To see the full list of artworks, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is La Salle selling its art?
La Salle is launching a five-year strategic plan, Momentum: 2022, that will position the University for growth and sustainability, and further enhance student experience and outcomes, and innovation in teaching and learning. This will require the University to reallocate assets and raise additional funds in order to fund key initiatives from its strategic plan. After thoughtful review of all the University's assets over a period of many months, the Board of Trustees has decided to sell select pieces of artworks and deploy the proceeds to execute the strategic plan.
How and when will the artworks be sold?
The artworks will be sold at auction by Christie's between April 2018 and June 2018 in New York, NY, London and online depending on the category. Questions or requests for information regarding the auctions should be directed to Christie's.
Why is La Salle working with Christie's rather than selling the art directly?
The university does not have the in-house expertise to value and sell artworks on its own. Christie's has an excellent reputation for integrity and client service, and can provide the broadest possible platform to offer La Salle artworks for sale. In addition, selling at auction is a transparent process not afforded by a private sale.
How many pieces will be sold, and how much money will their sale generate?
At this time, La Salle plans to sell 46 artworks -most are paintings- from a collection of over 5,000 pieces. 36 of the 46 were on display in the Museum's galleries; 10 were in storage. The art works are estimated to sell for $4.81 - 7.34 million dollars.
Which pieces are expected to raise the most money?
While artwork cannot be definitively valued until its sale, the following artworks are expected to sell for the highest amounts at auction: Elizabeth Frink's Walking Madonna, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' Virgil Reading the Aeneid Before Augustus, Dorothea Tannings' Temptation of Saint Anthony, Georges Rouault's Le Dernier Romantique, and Albert Gleizes' L'homme dans la ville. Christie's has valued these artworks between $2.2 million and $3.45 million, but they could sell for more.
Who made the decision about what artworks would be sold?
By request of the Board of Trustees, University staff worked in thoughtful consideration with Christie's and others to develop a list of artworks that could be sold to reach the target consignment amount of $5 million approved by the University's Board of Trustees. The criteria included identifying what works would remain in the collection and what their pedagogical value is to the University and community.
Will La Salle's artwork end up in private collections where the public no longer has access to them?
Some of the artworks will likely be purchased for private collections, but it is also possible that some of the pieces will be purchased by museums, and even public organizations.
Is the La Salle University Museum closing?
Absolutely not. Our museum plays an important role in the University's pedagogy, and serves as a resource for our La Salle community, our surrounding neighbors, regional schools, and the regional art community, among others. We are fortunate to both maintain a great teaching museum on campus and invest in an ambitious strategic plan whose overarching goal is to be recognized nationally for exceptional student outcomes related to teaching and learning. The La Salle University Art Museum reopened January 8 with refreshed galleries.
Will the deaccession of artworks weaken the pedagogical value of the Art Museum?
Absolutely not: 99% of the Art Museum's artworks will be retained. And as a teaching museum, the pedagogical value of its artworks is not proportional to their financial value or prominence of the artist. Importantly, Henry Ossawa Tanner's Mary will be retained as it is the artwork most often incorporated into faculty curricula, and has significant pedagogical value, particularly around issues of inclusion and diversity.
When and from whom were these works acquired by the La Salle Museum? Are any gifts?
The University's due diligence indicates it has clear title to the artworks it intends to sell; and 31 of the 46 artworks were purchased using University funds. All of the artworks were acquired by Br. Daniel Burke, the Museum's founder, and a President Emeritus of La Salle.
Doesn't the sale of so many of the Museum's artworks damage the legacy of Br. Daniel Burke?
Not at all. The Museum is not closing, the majority of its works will remain and its pedagogy will continue. Br. Daniel Burke loved the Art Museum, but he loved La Salle University and its students far more. His wise, strategic investment of university funds in art over the years has proven invaluable, and will provide the financial means the University needs to enhance teaching and learning, and better serve our students.
How do the Board of Trustees and University leadership feel about this sale?
While the decision to deaccession select artworks was not taken lightly, our University's executive cabinet and trustees are grateful that La Salle can maintain an exceptional teaching museum on campus while also investing in an ambitious strategic plan whose overarching goal is to be recognized nationally for exceptional student outcomes related to teaching and learning. As an institution of higher education, that is both the most strategic and mission-aligned use of our assets.
Are more sales planned in the future?
At this time, the University has no plans to deaccession more of its artworks.
Will any of the proceeds be used to purchase more art works as is customary when deaccessioning?
No. The University will use proceeds from the sale to help execute its five-year strategic plan, Momentum: 2022.