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Cash-strapped Mass. museum seeks art sale approval

The Associated Press

Boston – An attorney for a cash-strapped Massachusetts museum has urged a judge on the state’s highest court to quickly sign off on a plan that will allow it to sell dozens of pieces of art.

In this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 file photo protestors gather outside the Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, Mass., holding signs bearing pleas to "save the art." The battle over the proposed sale of dozens of works of art by the museum is scheduled to head to the state's highest court, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The Berkshire Museum says it needs to sell the 40 pieces of art, including works by Norman Rockwell, to stay open and refocus its mission.

Berkshire Museum Attorney William Lee told Justice David Lowy Tuesday that the museum is nearing a deadline to sell this spring, otherwise it will have to wait until the fall.

The museum is asking Lowy to approve an agreement that would allow it to sell up to 40 pieces of art, including works by Norman Rockwell.

A detail of Norman Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop”

The judge didn’t immediately rule Tuesday.

Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” would be sold to another U.S. museum.

An attorney for museum members fighting the sale says the museum hasn’t proven there’s no other way to solve its financial woes.

Detail from Norman Rockwell’s “Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop”