Brandeis University keeping Rose Art Museum open

Brandeis University agreed to keep its Rose Art Museum open and not to sell any of its artwork, settling a lawsuit against the school.

The move ends a two-year struggle over the museum’s future spearheaded by a lawsuit brought against the university by four of its supporters.

Those former plaintiffs, who sued Brandeis in 2009 over the school’s plans to sacrifice the museum and its $350 million art collection to ease a budget crisis, praised the settlement, which was announced June 30.

One of the four, Jonathan Lee, told the Boston Globe that he is now “confident” the university “is not going to let the collection be shuffled off.”

The crisis had jeopardized exhibitions planned for the museum, and hindered efforts to hire a new museum director, the Globe reported. Both projects can now move forward.

“This is a very good day for Brandeis and the Rose Art Museum and people who care deeply about both,” said Brandeis University’s president, Fred Lawrence. “We are thrilled that this is behind us, and we look forward to celebrating the museum’s 50th anniversary this fall.”

Brandeis trustees were severely criticized by leading figures in the art world for their decision to sell off the museum’s 7,500-piece collection. Students protested, and the former museum director, who opposed the plan, did not have his contract renewed.

In March 2010, the university agreed not to close the Rose or sell its art, but the plaintiffs wanted a written guarantee, which they received this week.

The Rose houses New England’s foremost collection of modern and contemporary American art. — jta