The sordid situation which took shape in early 2009 around the collection of Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum, a leading repository of modern and contemporary art, took a new twist recently.
A contract has been signed between the debt-plagued university, located in Waltham, Mass., and auctioneer Sotheby's to lease some of the Rose's art, valued at upwards of $350 million .
Out-going university president Jehuda Reinharz, 66, who led the controversial Trustees decision to sell part the Rose collection to raise funds, will be replaced by Frederick M. Lawrence, as announced last week.
The university's $700 million endowment shrank dramatically with the recession. Brandeis says it needs to cover $10 million to $15 million in structural debt as well as operating deficits.
Supporters say the leadership of a new president and the possible revenue from an art leasing plan are a sign of hope for the university which has taken a hit to its reputation due to the controversy.
There are also skeptics of the leasing idea such as Jonathan Lee, chairman of the Rose Board of Overseers, who filed suit on July 27, 2009, to block the initial sell-off plan. He told the Boston Herald, “...it seems a little wacky to have a sales agent do this for you. The kind of revenue expected for lending art is quite small.”