Dutch museums put unwanted art on eBay
Part of the Dutch national art collection featuring some 1,000 paintings, statues and other objects has gone on sale through Internet auction site eBay, officials have said.
"It is the first sale of this size," said Marina Raymakers of the Institute Collection Netherlands (ICN) which manages part of the Netherland's national art treasures.
Five museums are also taking part in the initiative which has sparked outrage among some of the artists whose work is up for sale.
"They called me the Picasso of Amsterdam. I did not paint rubbish," painter Robert Kruzdlo complained to the NRC Next newspaper.
His work, "Fear and Powerlessness of the Third World War," is now on eBay because the ICN decided it was "without artistic merit and historic significance."
On Friday the highest bid for the painting was 205.50 euros ($A326.47).
Other artists are more positive, like painter Willem Oorebeek who looked forward to reaching a new audience through the Internet.
"I don't see the auction as a loss but more a renaissance of my work, a rediscovery," he told NRC Next.
Between now and October 1,000 works of art, at the rate of 50 a week, will by auctioned on eBay.
Ms Raymakers said the government was not looking to make money from the artworks but to get them off the state's hands.
"What counts is that the works will have a new home," she said.
The ICN will also have a more traditional sale at The Hague auction house Venduehuis for the 300 best lots in October.
"It is a test so we can draw lessons from it for similar sales in future," Ms Raymakers said, adding that another 3,000 objects could be sold through eBay at a later date.
The ICN manages about 100,000 works from the Dutch state's art collection. When the objects are not gracing the walls of Dutch museums, ministries or embassies they languish in depots.
"Conservation is costly. There are the costs of maintenance of the buildings, keeping everything at the right temperature, security, transport, registration and documentation," Ms Raymakers explained.
"These are works that have not been on display in 100 years or works that do not fit in with the kind of exhibitions in museums."
She said a "big part" of the works on sale were produced under a government scheme to support Dutch artists in the 1980s. In exchange for a living allowance the artists had to produce a certain number of works for the state.
Ms Raymakers said each work had been analysed for its "artistic merits and historic significance."
"We study the work of the artist. We also try to determine the value of the work in the future. Maybe a work is not considered important today but could become important," she said.
If it's decided not to keep a work in the collection it will be first put on a database for Dutch museums. If after three months the object is not claimed by a museum it will go on sale, she said.
Of the 1,300 works sold off by the ICN, the Venduehuis auction house selected a little over 300.
"There is a lot of old Dutch furniture. We think collectors must be able to judge the quality of the objects which is not really possible on the Internet," Venduehuis representative Cuno van der Feltz said.
The traditional auction will be held in The Hague on October 23 with the 300 works and possibly some objects that could not be sold on eBay.=============
must be annoying to think that you have your work in a Museum Collection and then they get rid of it.