Art Market

The Baltimore Museum of Art acquired 70 works, including some with proceeds from selling works by white men.

Benjamin Sutton
Jun 14, 2019 4:50PM, via Baltimore Museum of Art

Ebony G. Patterson, ...we lost...for those who bear/bare witness, 2018. The Baltimore Museum of Art. © Ebony G. Patterson. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced on Friday that it has added 70 works to its permanent collection. The slew of acquisitions includes 17 pieces bought with funds from auction sales of recently deaccessioned works by white male artists including Andy Warhol, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg, which the museum was selling with the intention of diversifying its collection. The works purchased with auction proceeds include Ana Mendieta’s super-8 film Blood Inside Outside (1975), Mary Lovelace O'Neal’s large Neo-Expressionist painting Running Freed More Slaves Than Lincoln Ever Did (1995), a large-scale hand-cut paper piece by Ebony G. Patterson, and a suite of prints by Geta Brătescu.

Other works the museum acquired through a mix of gifts and purchases include a landscape painting by the FauvistAndré Derain, a gouache by the 18th-century miniaturist Anna Maria Werner, and an occultist calendar from 1895 by the Italian lithographer Manuel Orazi.

Manuel Orazi, Magic Calendar, 1895. The Baltimore Museum of Art.

In a statement, the BMA’s director, Christopher Bedford, said:

These historic and contemporary works create new opportunities to tell important and relevant narratives about the development of art and culture, and represent our collective goal to capture the innovations of a broad spectrum of artists with a continued and particular emphasis on those that have previously been under-represented in institutional collections.

Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Running Freed More Slaves Than Lincoln Ever Did, 1995. The Baltimore Museum of Art. © Mary Lovelace O’Neal.

Late last year the BMA revealed an initial set of four works it had bought with funds from its controversial deaccessioning, by Melvin Edwards, Meleko Mokgosi, Senga Nengudi, and Carrie Mae Weems. The deaccessioning has also enabled the museum to acquire pieces by Amy Sherald, Trevor Paglen, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu, and others.

Other institutions have recently taken similar action, most notably SFMOMA which auctioned a Mark Rothko painting from its collection for $50.1 million, with the intention of using the funds “to make great strides in diversifying the collection.”

Benjamin Sutton
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019