Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Jenny Gibbs

Second Advisor

Kejia Wu


A collector’s financial interest in purchasing works of art is often motivated by potential return on investment. These collectors have heard countless stories of others gaining huge financial returns after consigning rare works of art from a museum collection. In recent decades, rising debates on the capitalizing of museum collections to gain financial assets allude to long-term negative repercussions. Those opposed postulate that art patron will lose trust in a museum’s ability to care for its publicly-owned collections. Deaccession is a difficult research topic, attempts to resolve any conflicts of interest in the matter of selling cultural work of art that belongs to the public, proposes more than hypothetical measures and analyses. The core enquiry for this empirical research explores the hypothesis that the deaccession of artworks from a museum collection is acting as a disruptor in the art auction market and it mandates the establishment of best practices when determining the Fair Market Value (FMV) of a museum collection. Identifying the FMV would allow museums to quantify the financial value of their collections and create greater transparency on what the public may lose access to. It would also regulate art prices in the instance of deaccession. The preface will outline how art has evolved into the financial asset class and examine why museums selling their artworks on the auction market. Research findings exhibit art appraisal valuations of works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection and reveal the effects of a deaccession artwork sold on the art auction market including derivative price indices. This valuation report includes an analysis of data and calculations used to evaluate the Guggenheim Founding Collection. The FMV valuation of this collection evaluates the specific auction price nature of each piece of art in order to determine the hypothetical earnings should the Founding Collection face deaccession. The report uses methods of property valuation (i.e. comparables, price per square foot, recent price transactions, moving average percentage, relative standard deviation, blockage discount, damage and loss in value) to assess the FMV of all individual artworks collected by Solomon Guggenheim under its Founding Collection. The final analysis concludes an “insider” report on works from one specific artist, Vasily Kandinsky. An investigation into deaccessioned artworks by Kandinsky from the Guggenheim Founding Collection frames the supporting argument of this core enquiry. Kandinsky’s works are among the most frequently deaccessioned across multiple museums internationally.