This exhibition will feature five paintings by the French artist Bernard Smol (1897–1969) that are currently in the museum’s collection. Due to limited storage space and evolving collecting philosophy, the museum staff has decided to “deaccession,” or remove from its collection, all but one of the works. Visitors will be able to vote on which one they would like the museum to keep, and the curatorial staff will take those votes into consideration. All five works are oil paintings on canvas of comparable dimensions, styles and significance, which, according to Boland, would make it difficult to decide which one to keep except for a difference in their exhibition histories and the ways in which they entered the collection.
Deaccessioning is a lengthy and complex process. First, the museum must give public notice of its intent. The museum's collections committee and Board of Advisors and UGA's president must all approve that intent. Only then can the work be removed from the collection, often to be sold at public auction, to keep the process as transparent as possible. Proceeds, if the works is sold, must be used for acquisitions, to prevent monetizing the collection. Violation of appropriate deaccessioning procedure can lead to sanctions by such professional organizations as the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), of which GMOA is a member. Sanctions can mean the loss of the ability to borrow works from other museums or even the loss of accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum’s director, William Underwood Eiland, has served on AAMD’s Deaccessioning Task Force and is an expert in the field.
Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art
The W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art