A Deaccessioned Edward Hopper Painting Is Heading to Auction

The Whitney recently announced the decision

Whitney Museum
Outside of the Whitney Museum in 2021.
John Lamparski/Getty Images

The Whitney Museum’s permanent collection is about to get a little smaller. And then it’s likely to get a little bigger.

There’s been a lot of talk about deaccessioning since the pandemic began, as museums have sold off artwork from their collections for a host of reasons. Some have opted to do so in order to diversify the artists represented there, while others have done so to address the financial issues that many cultural institutions have faced in recent years. Now, evidently, it’s the Whitney’s turn.

As artnet news reports, Edward Hopper’s painting Cobb’s Barns, South Truro — painted between 1930 and 1933 — will be auctioned via Sotheby’s on May 16. It’s not the only work of Hopper’s hitting the market; artnews reports that a trio of Hopper watercolors will join work by John Marin and Maurice Prendergast at an auction on May 17.

The Whitney has not deaccessioned works of art since 2018.

“It was determined that the works were duplicative within the collection. The Whitney looks forward to continuing to build and expand its collection,” the museum said in a statement — which also noted that funds from the sale of the 10 works of art being sold would go to fund future additions to its permanent collection.

If all goes according to plan, the museum should have some funds on their hands after the auctions conclude. Cobb’s Barns, South Truro is expected to sell for between $8 million and $12 million.

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