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.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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