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Fisk Decision: Judge Seeks Proposal to Keep Stieglitz Works in Nashville

Davidson County Chan­cel­lor Ellen Hobbs Lyle has just handed down her decision regarding the $30-million Fisk/Crystal Bridges collection-sharing deal.

I’ve only just skimmed the decision (accessible at the top link), so you you can read along with me. But if you skip to P. 20, you’ll see that the judge accepted the university’s argument that “due to Fisk’s unstable financial condition, it is unable to literally comply” with donor Georgia O’Keeffe‘s conditions for maintaining the Stieglitz Collection.

HOWEVER…she did NOT approve the agreement with Crystal Bridges, because it “does not closely approximate Georgia O’Keeffe’s intent.” Accordingly, Chancellor Lyle has given the office of the State Attorney General until Sept. 10 to come up with a Nashville-based solution (discussed earlier in the decision) for display and maintenance of the collection, possibly involving the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. After that, Fisk will have until Oct. 8 to “file any responses to the other side’s proposal, and/or any additional proposals Fisk has.”

I’d call it a qualified victory for the AG. But unless he’s already got a good Nashville-based plan up his sleeve, he’s got a narrow window to craft a new solution to the intractible Stieglitz problem.

Whatever happens, this may not be the last word. You’ve heard of appeals, haven’t you? The Court of Appeals is an option, if either side chooses to extend this never-ending legal battle.

I’ll have more, including comments from the combatants, if and when I get them.

[UPDATE: Reactions from AG and Frist are here. Fisk’s reaction, here.]

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