A Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that Fisk University has the right to sell Georgia O’Keeffe paintings in the school’s possession.
The decision reverses a ruling from the Davidson County Chancery Court, which had prevented the $30 million sale of a one-half interest in the collection of paintings to the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Ark. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has objected to the sale, claiming Fisk was in danger of violating conditions that O’Keeffe’s paintings be displayed together. The museum represents O’Keeffe’s estate.
“Fisk looks forward to the resolution of the case but fully understands that it will take time,” said Fisk President Hazel O’Leary in a Wednesday statement. “The expense that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has forced Fisk to incur in its effort to gain ownership of the [collection] could have been committed to scholarships for our students.”
The O’Keeffe Museum has 60 days to file an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Fisk is a historically black college in North Nashville, and was founded in 1866. The university is struggling financially.