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 (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25