Using the collection

A person examining framed prints.

Borrowing artworks

With construction of the new Rothko Pavilion fast approaching, the Museum enacted a moratorium on all outgoing loans until July 2025.

Requesting images and permissions

All requests must be made by application. Requests for permission to reproduce an image for publication must be made in writing and include the intended use, the publisher, title of the publication, and expected date of publication.

The Portland Art Museum reserves the right to deny permission to reproduce an image from its collection to any application whose product is not acceptable to the Portland Art Museum for any reason. Reproduction is permitted only from materials supplied by the Portland Art Museum.

Permission, if granted, is valid only for the individual, company, or institution to whom it is specifically issued and may not be transferred, assigned, sold, or otherwise disposed of without the Portland Art Museum’s permission in writing. Permission shall not be granted until payment processing of the required fees for reproduction.


Upon date of publication, the publisher is to provide the Portland Art Museum with at least one complete, gratis copy of the publication in which the image is reproduced. If so requested, a proof must be approved by the Portland Art Museum before reproduction of an image in color. If a proof is still not judged sufficient quality even after correction, the Portland Art Museum has the right to withdraw permission to publish.

Certain works of art owned by the Portland Art Museum may be protected by a copyright not owned by the Portland Art Museum. Responsibility for ascertaining whether any such rights exist, for paying any royalties or fees claimed by the artist, his or her heirs or estate, and for obtaining all other necessary permissions, remains with the applicant. Permission documents must be submitted along with the application before the photographic materials will be released.


Download the application form, or contact the Rights and Reproductions Department for more information. Return the completed application to the Rights and Reproductions Department.

By mail
Rights and Reproductions Department
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205

By fax

By phone

By email 

The Portland Art Museum makes no warranties or representations and assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any claims against applicant of the Museum by the artists, their agents, estates, or by any parties in connection with the reproduction of works of art in the collection of the Portland Art Museum. The applicant agrees to indemnify the Portland Art Museum and hold it harmless against any and all such claims, including copyright infringement claims, royalty or fee demands and/or actions, including the costs thereof arising as a result of the applicant’s reproduction of the works of art in the Portland Art Museum. Copyright owners or reproduction rights may be retained by the artist for works of art created after January 1, 1978. Any and all royalty payments or other requirements specified by the copyright owner of such a work must be paid or honored by the publisher or agent requesting reproduction permission.


Deaccessioning is an infrequent and multi-step process that is carefully considered by the appropriate curator, conservator, registrars, director of collections, executive director, and board of trustees.

The Portland Art Museum maintains professional standards for its collection. Objects that have been formally accessioned into the collection are retained as long as they can be properly preserved and are relevant to the mission of the Museum. Objects may be considered for deaccession to improve the integrity and quality of the collection. Deaccessioned objects may be transferred to another museum or publicly sold at auction, and the proceeds from the sale will be used for the purchase of artworks that are of higher quality and greater relevance.

Criteria for deaccessions

Works that can be deaccessioned include: works of inferior quality unrelated to present holdings; works that have deteriorated or are damaged beyond repair; duplicates or works that are very similar to others in the collection, except when a case can be made for their educational value; inauthentic works, unless they are of educational value; works being replaced by a superior example.

Overview of procedure

The appropriate curator must obtain two outside recommendations from scholars pertaining to the candidates for deaccession. Donor records are examined to ensure that deaccessioning will not violate the donor’s philanthropic intent; the list of candidates for deaccessioning, with written justification, is reviewed by the executive director, and presented to the Collections Committee for approval. If approved, the Committee will recommend the action to the Executive Committee of the Board.

For transparency and educational purposes, the Portland Art Museum will post deaccessioned objects on its website.

Recent deaccessions

Provenance research

Many museums in the United States, including the Portland Art Museum, examine the provenance of works of art that may have changed hands during the Nazi era (1933-1945) in Europe. Provenance research, or the study of an artwork’s history, is an ongoing part of the scholarly work at the Museum. A special effort was made to clarify any gaps in the provenance of works in the Museum collection that were acquired after 1932 and created before 1946 in order to determine rightful ownership. The Museum continues to research provenance on all new acquisitions that fall within the Nazi era.

In the years prior to and during World War II, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis confiscated many of the art holdings of governments, institutions, and individuals in the countries they subjugated. Hitler and his advisors admired traditional European art, mainly realistic genre painting, because these works were easy to understand and upheld what they considered to be respectable moral values. They kept the finest examples of this art for their private collections or to display in a museum they planned to build in Linz, Austria. From the moment the Nazis came to power, however, they launched a campaign to purge modernist artwork, especially abstract, Cubist, Expressionist and Surrealist art. They burned some of this art, but they exchanged much of it with international dealer-collaborators for Old Master paintings.

In the decades following World War II, many American museums unknowingly received confiscated works of art. Now, museums are participating in an effort to enable rightful owners or their descendants to identify works lost from their art collections. The Portland Art Museum is currently researching works from its permanent collection that have gaps in their provenances.

To find out more about the Museum’s provenance research, share information about works of art in the Museum’s collection, or request digital images of these works for provenance purposes, please email