Indebted Delaware Art Museum Forced to Sell Four Paintings

The Delaware Art Museum as seen from Kentmere Parkway. Photo by Florain Holzherr, public domain.

Plagued by debt, the Delaware Art Museum will sell four of its paintings for a projected $30 million, the New York Times reports. The museum still owes $19.8 million in bond debt from a 2005 expansion and renovation project, and has seen a significant decline its endowment linked to the financial crisis.

In a statement, Mike Miller, the institution’s chief executive, presented the decision to monetize the 100-year-old museum’s collection as the lesser of two evils: “After detailed analysis, heavy scrutiny, and the exhaustion of every reasonable alternative to relieve our bond debt, the trustees had two agonizing choices in front of them—to either sell works of art, or to close our doors.”

By selling paintings from its collection of 19th-century American and Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the museum will be able to dig itself out of debt and replenish its endowment.

The Association of Art Museum Directors, who reportedly had privately encouraged the Delaware Museum to find other means of repaying the bond debt, recently sanctioned the Randolph College‘s Maier Museum of Art in Virginia for selling a George Bellows canvas to fund college operations.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.
Article topics