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Judge Nixes Fisk-Walton Deal for Stieglitz Collection

In a ruling late Friday, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle rejected Fisk University’s plan to sell a half-share of its Stieglitz Collection to Alice Walton for $30 million.
I don’t yet have a copy of the ruling, but Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, has the story. Reginald Stuart writes:
In a major setback for Fisk University, a Tennessee judge has barred the school from selling any or all of its priceless 101 piece Stieglitz Collection of art to raise money to support the financially troubled school.
The ruling…stunned university officials who have spent the last two years trying to unload key pieces of art in the collection by the late Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley in hopes of quickly raising millions of dollars to help the school reverse its sagging fortunes….
“We’re researching our options for appeal,” said Ken West, the Fisk spokesman, referring to Judge Lyle’s Friday ruling….
“The record establishes that Ms. O’Keeffe’s intent was specific,” Judge Lyle said, in a ruling she said she issued with “great reluctance…”She [O’Keeffe] did not intend for Fisk to be able to dispose of the collection in whole or in part,” Judge Lyle wrote, basing her decision on correspondence between the school and O’Keeffe and New York law, which governs the gift since it was made by O’Keeffe while a resident of New York.

A trial is still set for Feb. 19, but is now expected to focus on the question of whether the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, as successor-in-interest to the artist’s estate, should receive the collection. The museum has argued for this on the grounds that Fisk cannot properly preserve and care for the collection as O’Keeffe had intended when she gave it to the university.
The Tennessean has a less detailed version of the story here.

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