Thomas Wilmer Dewing's "Lady with a Lute"1 2017-03-21T19:26:29-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c 15623 5 1886, oil on wood, 20 x 15 3/4 in., NGA 1978.60.1, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Walter Timme plain 2017-04-28T07:08:12-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
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- 1 2017-03-08T08:39:35-08:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c How do museums build and unbuild collections? Samantha Page 35 structured_gallery 2017-04-26T10:22:39-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
- 1 2017-03-20T19:26:49-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Why Museums Collect Samantha Page 22 structured_gallery 2017-05-03T13:51:42-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
- 1 2017-03-08T17:41:09-08:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Purchased Samantha Page 17 Works of art purchased from an artist or dealer structured_gallery 2017-05-03T17:38:09-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
- 1 2017-03-08T17:31:21-08:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Deaccessioned Samantha Page 16 Works of art formally removed from the collection structured_gallery 2017-04-28T06:37:41-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
- 1 2017-03-08T17:43:24-08:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Donated by a patron Samantha Page 10 structured_gallery 2017-04-26T10:52:29-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
- 1 2017-03-20T19:27:21-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Building a new collection Samantha Page 9 structured_gallery 2017-05-03T14:00:57-07:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
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- 1 2017-03-08T17:33:50-08:00 Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c Thomas Wilmer Dewing's "Lady with Cello" 2 1920 or before, oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 16 1/16 in, SC 1934:3-4, Bequest of Annie Swan Coburn (Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn) media/dewing_cello.jpg plain 2017-04-15T11:43:29-07:00 Petegorsky / Gipe photo All Reproduction Rights Are Reserved and RestrictedSMITH COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ARTNorthampton, MA 01063Registrar / Collection Man Samantha Page 4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
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Works of art purchased from an artist or dealer
One way for the SCMA to acquire works of art it really wants to add to its collection is to buy them. The museum can buy works from galleries and dealers, and directly from the artists creating the objects.
Buying art directly from artists ensures the artwork's authenticity, demonstrates a commitment to the working creative, and shows an active interest in contemporary art. Smith demonstrated an interest in and commitment to these values as an early teaching institution dedicated to the arts.
In the SCMA's earliest days, in the 1870s, artworks were often bought directly from the artists who created them. Examples of this include Abbott Handerson Thayer's Winged Figure (now at the Art Institute of Chicago), Thomas Wilmer Dewing's Lady with a Lute (now in the National Gallery of Art), and Winslow Homer's Song of the Lark (now at the Chrysler Museum of Art).
Bought from a dealerWhen being re-matriated (added back into the collection) in 2015, Ramesseum at Thebes was spotted and bought from a dealer in New York City. The SCMA used money from the Hillyer-Mather-Tryon Fund (a combined source of funds given by three major donors to the SCMA) to purchase the artwork.
Click on these other artworks to explore works PURCHASED by the SCMA
Why Museums Remove Objects from their Collections
As we have learned from WHY and HOW museums collect, collections are pretty fluid things. They change. And they do not always grow. Sometimes museums remove objects from their collections—this is called deaccessioning. Just as museums add to collections for a variety of reasons, museums remove objects from collections for a range of reasons. If an artwork is considered to be in bad shape, a forgery, or a duplicate of something else in the collection, it may be sold or given to an institution that can learn from such a work. More difficult to navigate is if a museum changes its mission or goals and must decide if certain artworks in its collection still serve the same purpose they were acquired to.
Just as if someone were cleaning out her crowded closet, it's best to be methodical and reasoned when removing things from one's personal property, after which they will be irretrievable. In order to avoid regret, one needs to be aware of changing circumstances surround issues of taste and space. The importance of a central mission behind a museum's collecting practices is intended to safeguard against changing trends. Additionally, limitations of space can change over time, so this also should not be a primary motivation for what a museum chooses to keep or dispose of.
As Marie C. Malaro says in "Deaccessioning--The American Perspective,"
"Deaccessioning should never be addressed in isolation. It is dependent on a clear articulation of a museum's collecting goals and prudent acquisition procedures. In other words, deaccessioning is not a method for curing sloppiness in accessioning." (46)
Dewing's Lady with Lute was deaccessioned from the SCMA in the 1940s, along with nearly 100 other works of art. This painting was sold by Gimbel's Department store in 1946, on behalf of the SCMA. In May 1947, Dr. Walter Timme bought the painting, which he later donated to the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about why museums remove objects from the collection, click on the links below.