Filed under: Art
Last year Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts caused an uproar when it announced plans to close its Rose Art Museum and possibly sell off the art. Now the university has a different plan, one that carries its own controversy. The Boston Globe reports that the university plans to hire Sotheby's auction house to act as a broker to loan out selected works from the Rose's well-regarded collection. Usually art loans take place between museums and don't usually bring in revenue but in some cases some museums have paid millions to borrow key works for certain shows. Some people have expressed concern that works could be loaned out to prviate collectors or corporations who don't have conservationists on staff and might not adequately care for the works.
In just under 50 years the Rose has amassed a collection of 7,500 objects that is said to be worth as much as $350 million. The Rose Art Museum collects American art of the 1960s and 1970s and has pieces by Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Although the museum is in better financial shape than it was a year ago and it still faces an annual structural deficit of between $10 million and $15 million. The university expects to sign a contract with Sotheby's sometime next month and could begin entertaining art loan proposals this fall.