Fisk University may soon be able to generate cash from its 101-piece art collection donated by the late painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
On Monday, the Tennessee Supreme Court announced that it would let stand a ruling allowing the historically black university to complete a $30 million deal to sell a 50 percent stake in the collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark.
The decision may mean the legal battle that’s lasted more than a decade is all but over.
Officials at the cash-strapped Nashville school have said Fisk might be forced to close if it didn’t sell the stake in the Stieglitz Collection to the museum built by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.
“We’re feeling pretty happy here,” Fisk President Hazel O’Leary said. “We felt we had the clarity that the law was in our favor.”
She said only a few administrative details need to be worked out before the case is closed.
The state of Tennessee has fought to keep the collection in Nashville. State lawyers argued that allowing the deal would have a chilling effect on future donations here because Fisk is going against the stipulations O’Keeffe made when she donated the collection to the school in 1949.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office said lawyers for the state were disappointed by the decision. It lets stand last year’s Court of Appeals ruling that gave Fisk the green light to go ahead with the deal.
State attorneys had also argued that the art collection is a part of Nashville’s cultural history and it needs to be protected because of the risk that it could be lost to Fisk’s creditors. They said there is a risk that the entire collection could ultimately wind up in the Arkansas museum because of some of the wording in the contract between it and Fisk.
Under the proposed deal, the Arkansas museum would house the art two out of every four years. But the contract says the museum also has the right of first refusal for the remaining 50 percent of the collection.
O’Keeffe donated 97 pieces of art to Fisk from the estate of her late husband, photographer Alfred Stiegltiz. The collection includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Marsden Hartley, and Charles Demuth, among others. O’Keeffe also donated four of her paintings to the school because Fisk educated blacks in the segregated south.
But she stipulated that the collection must never be sold or broken up. Fisk had argued that the $131,000 annual cost to display the art was more than the school could afford.
O’Leary said one of the questions that now must be resolved is whether $1 million that Walton pledged to Fisk is adequate to upgrade the display place.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30