A judge on
Monday rejected an agreement to send a 1927 oil painting
by Georgia O'Keeffe from Nashville's Fisk University to a
New Mexico museum, saying the deal wasn't in the best
interests of the state of Tennessee.
called Radiator Building--Night, New
York, was part of a 1949 gift to the school from the
estate of O'Keeffe's husband, famed photographer
black university had agreed to send the painting to the
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe for $7.5 million and the
right to sell another prominent painting on the open
County chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle said Monday that a rival
offer from a new museum to be opened by the daughter of the
late Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, the Crystal Bridges
Museum of American Art, offers better terms.
would have averted a trial scheduled for next week. Lyle
acknowledged that the university runs a risk at trial
because the New Mexico museum is asking for the entire
101-piece collection of works given to the university
by Stieglitz to be transferred there. But it's a risk
worth taking because of the rival offer, Lyle wrote.
financial security the Crystal Bridges proposal provides to
Fisk, the proposal gives the people of Tennessee more access
to and Fisk the ability to display the important
artwork Radiator Building,'' Lyle said in the ruling.
An attorney and a
spokeswoman for the New Mexico museum did not return a
call seeking comment. Fisk spokesman Ken West said the
school is still reviewing Lyle's ruling.
founder of the Crystal Bridges Museum, scheduled to open in
2009 in Bentonville, Ark., laid out the terms of a rival
deal in an August 24 letter to Tennessee attorney
general Bob Cooper.
Under the Walton
proposal, the museum would pay the school $30 million
and the two entities would share a 50% stake in the
101-piece Alfred Stieglitz Collection. The collection
would be displayed in Bentonville and Nashville on an
was founded in 1866 to educate former slaves, but the
school has struggled throughout its history to raise money
and nearly closed 20 years ago because of lack of
Fisk and the
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum had argued that the proposed
settlement presented the best opportunity to resolve the
long-running dispute. The museum, which represents the
late painter's estate, had sued to prevent an earlier
attempt by the school to sell paintings. (AP)