Brandeis U. Agrees to Settlement in Dispute Over Rose Art Museum

June 30, 2011

Brandeis University announced on Thursday that it would not sell any part of its prized collection of modern art at its Rose Art Museum, ending a long-simmering dispute that had cast a negative light on the Massachusetts institution.

As part of a settlement with four museum supporters who had sued the university to prevent it from selling off its collection, Brandeis agreed to state in writing that it would not sell any of the museum's art, The Boston Globe reported.

Worry over the recession led the university to announce, in January 2009, that it would close the museum and auction off its collection of contemporary art, which includes 8,000 paintings and other works by such artists as Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.

The plan ignited protests among alumni and other supporters and led the university's president to issue an apology and a promise that the museum would remain open, but as a gallery and teaching site. At one point, the university also said it might lend some of its valuable artwork for a fee rather than sell it.

Meryl Rose, one of the plaintiffs, praised the university's new president, Frederick M. Lawrence, for his appreciation of the museum's collection.

"Obviously, the new president really gets this," she told the Globe. "He absolutely gets the importance of this collection and the important place the Rose has in the art world."