Brandeis decision to sell off art collection could cost the school donors


Brandeis University may face backlash from donors over its decision to close its museum and possibly sell off its assets, reports the Wall Street Journal:

"It makes me feel disposable, like a plastic fork," said Marlene Persky of Worcester, Mass., a donor of cash and several artworks to the Rose and current chair of the museum’s collections committee. She will not be making any more gifts to Brandeis. Another donor, Jerry Fineberg, former chairman of the Rose’s board and the retired chairman of a Boston-based apartment-building management company, stated that he "donated $2.5 million for a building addition to the museum that was supposed to be done and now will never be done. As far as I can tell, I’m not getting my money back."

Gifts of cash to the Rose also meant cash to Brandeis, because the university regularly took 15% of all donations made to the museum, a source of funds for the school that will be lost.

"What Brandeis did certainly doesn’t encourage being a donor," said Robert Mnuchin, a Manhattan art dealer whose parents, Leon Mnuchin and Harriet Gevirtz-Mnuchin, donated in 1962 an inheritance of $50,000 to fund a contemporary-art collection at the university, which was used to purchase 21 pieces, including early and important works by Jim Dine, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselman. Mr. Mnuchin is less bitter than the others, perhaps because "I hope to work with, or advise, Brandeis if it comes to selling the collection."

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