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With settlement reached, art to remain at Rose Museum

Read more: Why the Rose matters, The Rose: A retrospective

Published: July 15, 2011
Section: Front Page, Summer News


Brandeis will not sell any artwork from The Rose Art Museum as part of a settlement agreed to with Rose benefactors, university President Fred Lawrence announced last month.

“The Rose plays a key role not just in the creative arts, but throughout the curriculum,” Lawrence said in a phone interview. “It’s very hard to understand American history without paying some attention to contemporary art.”


Text of the Settlement
To view the settlement agreed with Rose benefactors, click here (2MB – PDF).


Options to rent art from the museum, however, are still possible in the future, Lawrence said. “All options that will be considered will be consistent with the role of The Rose as a first class art museum,” Lawrence said.

In addition to not selling any of the artwork, Brandeis also agreed in the settlement to hire and employ a new museum director. Other conditions agreed upon with Gerald and Sandra Fineberg, large donors to the museum, include opening renovated space this fall for its 50th anniversary, along with doubling the size of the Fineberg plaque and moving it into a more prominent position.

For Lawrence, who inherited The Rose controversy when he took office this year, the settlement comes after two years of international spotlight and criticism of the university and its former president, Jehuda Reinharz. In early 2009, Reinharz announced plans to sell artwork in order to make up for revenue losses and a budget gap resulting from the recession.

After being named president last July, Lawrence said he met with Lois Foster, one of the four plaintiffs in the case, in the fall and continued meeting with her and other plaintiffs after he took office. Throughout the presidential transition, Lawrence said he realized that if the case with Meryl Rose, Jonathan Lee, Gerald Fineberg and Lois Foster was not resolved before Dec. 31, 2010 it would become his responsibility.

“I am very pleased to inform you that Brandeis and the four plaintiffs involved in The Rose Art Museum litigation have reached an agreement to settle the case,” Lawrence wrote in an email to the Brandeis community last month. “The agreement emphasizes that The Rose is and will remain a university art museum open to the public and that Brandeis has no plan to sell artwork.”