from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To remove and sell (a work of art) from a museum's collection, especially in order to purchase other works of art: "He also denied that ... friends of the museum were permitted to buy ... pieces that were deaccessioned” ( New York Times).
  • intransitive v. To remove a work of art from a museum's collection and sell it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To officially remove an object from a museum, art gallery or library so that it may be sold.
  • n. The disposal of objects in this way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. to sell (artwork); -- used of sales of art by museums.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. sell (art works) from a collection, especially in order to raise money for the purchase of other art works


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • If a museum has to sell -- or "deaccession" -- something, so says the 18,000-member American Association of Museums (of which the Rose is a member), the money should be used exclusively for the purchase of new objects for the collection.

    When the Going Gets Tough

  • In what has become an all-too-common practice in the art world, this plan will include the sale, or "deaccession," of 50 works from the museum's permanent collection, among them a Jackson Pollock drawing valued at $300,000 to $500,000 and several Hudson River School and American Impressionist works with estimates ranging from $25,000 to $300,000, according to a prospectus prepared by Christie's.

    Another Art Museum Puts Its Collection on the Block

  • Museums generally "deaccession" works of art to use the proceeds to buy other works of art, and the Board of Regents already prohibits some museums from selling art to cover other costs.


  • It said the museum had satisfied its concerns by making a commitment "not to deaccession works in its collection as a means of generating operating support at any point in the future."

    Sanctions Suspended For Academy Museum

  • Also put up db of works planning to deaccession as well as ones have deaccession.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • He has the uncomfortable feeling that he shilling for deaccession but they're really just trying to be transparent about process.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Next process is to link funds from deaccession to artworks acquired with funds from its sale.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • "The four works at Christie's had been considered for deaccession for some time — because curators felt that we had more important examples by these artists from the respective periods — and the timing was right for us considering the recent availability of a work by Kazimir Malevich."

    Chicago Museum Sells Four Works to Pay for Malevich

  • On top of recommending the council sell, or "strategically deaccession", artworks to make it more financially sustainable, the report suggests amalgamating the art collections of the organisation with those of the government and the British Council.

    Arts Council told to sell off masterpieces in damning report by MPs

  • "Art museums will insist donors give them the option to deaccession, and, conversely, donors will demand ironclad agreements that museums will never sell," says art consultant Richard Polsky, author of the book I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon).

    After the Recession, a Serious Crisis Awaits Museums


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