Donors to the Tacoma Art Museum have been stung by the auction of Chinese jades and robes gifted to the museum's collection.
The Young family gave pieces in the 1970s that the museum has sold off, except for a few remaining items that are now slated for sale at Bonhams in San Francisco on March 12.
Al Young, a retired schoolteacher whose parents, John and Mary Young, chose to give their carefully assembled collection to the museum, believes the sale is a big loss for the region.
“Those things were gifted to Tacoma and to the Northwest so that we can see examples of Chinese art,” he said to the Seattle Times. “Now they’re going to be gone forever. And they’re just being used for currency.”
Part of the reason the Youngs gave the collection to the Tacoma Art Museum was the city's history of anti-Chinese sentiment, said Young.
The museum claims that Chinese works are not the focus of its collections and resources are needed to sustain its core mission. The museum focuses on Northwest art.
So far, $230,000 has been raised from the items gifted by the Youngs.