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Randolph College responds to sanctions imposed by museum group

Randolph College responds to sanctions imposed by museum group
The George Bellows painting "Men of the Docks" was sold by the Maier Museum of Art in Virginia to Britain's "National Gallery." (Associated Press)

Randolph College has hit back at an association of museum directors that has imposed sanctions on the college for its recent sale of a valuable George Bellows painting.

The college said the Assn. of Art Museum Directors' sanctions, which include instructions to member museums to suspend loans of artworks to, and any collaboration on exhibitions and programs with, the college's Maier Museum of Art, are "unfortunate for those organizations across the nation who may now be denied the opportunity to learn from the wonderful works of art owned by Randolph College."

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On Wednesday, the AAMD announced its sanctions on the Maier for the recent sale of Bellows' 1912 "Men of the Docks."

The Maier had sold the painting to Britain's National Gallery for $25.5 million. The funds from the sale are expected to help support the college's finances.

The sale constitutes a "violation of one of the most fundamental professional principles of the art museum field," the organization said in release.

The sanctions represent a more stringent penalty than a censure, the AAMD said. In 2008, the museum directors censured the Maier Museum for its decision to sell Rufino Tamayo's painting "Trovador."

In a statement released on Thursday, Randolph College president Bradley W. Bateman said that "we are not a member of the AAMD, nor have we ever asked to be a member," and that the association therefore has no jurisdiction in the matter.

He said the sanctions "will not prohibit the college from continuing its longstanding tradition of providing our students as well as our community members with access to wonderful works of contemporary art."

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