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Baltimore Museum of Art to Sell Seven Works by Men, Hopes to Diversify Collection

The Baltimore Museum of Art announced on Friday that it will deaccession seven works by white male artists, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Franz Kline, to make room for works by contemporary female artists and artists of color, according to the Baltimore Sun. In May, the museum will put the following works up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York: Warhol’s Oxidation Painting, 1978, and Hearts, 1979; Rauschenberg’s Bank Job, 1979; Kline’s Green Cross, 1956; Kenneth Noland’s Lapis Lazuli, 1963, and In-Vital, 1982; and Jules Olitski’s Before Darkness II, 1973. Each work except for Rauschenberg’s Bank Job and Warhol’s Hearts will be auctioned off; those two will be put up for private sale. The museum owns other works by each of these artists.

The decision, said museum director Christopher Bedford, “is a necessity to ensure the greatness of the collection going forward. All the major museums in this country deaccession annually as a matter of routine.” The museum plans to use the money raised from the future sales—which were endorsed by the American Alliance of Museums—to buy artworks made after 1943.

In the same meeting that the museum’s board of trustees announced its plans for the seven artworks, it approved the acquisition of nine works by contemporary artists, four of whom are black. The nine newly acquired works are by Mark Bradford, John T. Scott, Jack Whitten, Sara VanDerBeek, Trevor Paglen, and Zanele Muholi. The purchases signal the museum’s goals to diversify its collection, which Bedford hopes will better reflect the population of Baltimore.