Cape Breton University is considering selling one of the most high profile pieces in its permanent collection as it continues to review its art gallery operation.

Keith Brown, vice-president of development at Cape Breton University, confirmed they’ve been looking into the process that would be involved in selling the Pablo Picasso sketchbook, which was valued at US$1.3 million about a decade ago. But, he stressed, no final decision has been made to sell.

“Over the past year or more I’ve been doing research into the process, talking to regional, national and international people about if one made the decision to deaccession a Picasso, what is the process?” he said, noting he’s learned it would be a very complicated undertaking requiring them to carefully consider a number of factors, including who would buy it.


The Picasso sketchbook was acquired by CBU 11 years ago through an anonymous donation.

Brown said the donors support selling it, if that’s what the university decides to do, adding that the fact that the sketchbook is seen by a limited number of people at CBU is a large part of why discussion is underway about its possible sale.