The Delaware Museum of Art said Monday that it has sold paintings by American masters Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer to private collectors, completing a controversial "deaccessioning" to repay construction debt and refill its coffers, The News Journal of Wilmington reports. With the sales, for which the buyers and prices were not named, "we close one of the most difficult chapters" in the museum's history, CEO Mike Miller said, adding, "We reached our most important goal—keeping the museum open and thriving."
In March 2014 the museum's board approved selling up to four works to retire $19.8 million in leftover debt from a 2005 expansion and replenish its endowment. The move drew censure from museum organizations, but leaders at the century-old Wilmington institution said that without a quick cash infusion, it might be forced to close. Two works sold last year fetched less than expected, forcing the museum to draw $5 million from its endowment to pay off its loan by a September 2014 deadline.