Sunday, November 30, 2014

How long is forever? 50 years

After Philippe de Montebello agreed at breakfast two decades ago to name the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roman Sculpture Court, in perpetuity, for the philanthropists and antiquities collectors Leon Levy and his wife, Shelby White, Mr. Levy predictably, but politely, posed an impertinent question. ...

Mr. Levy later recalled, “I asked him, How long is ‘in perpetuity’?”

“For you, 50 years,” Mr. de Montebello, the museum director, replied. ...

“Perpetuity is usually a matter of negotiation now,” said William D. Zabel, a lawyer representing the Fisher family, who had threatened to sue on their behalf 12 years ago when Lincoln Center considered changing the name at that time without its permission.