Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"The opinion of the court provides no benefits for Fisk"

In the Nashville Scene, Christine Kreyling has more on the recent setback for Fisk University in its deaccessioning lawsuit against the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. She calls it a "stunning, if not entirely unexpected, legal defeat":

"Fisk now finds itself in a legal straitjacket. The university can’t sell the paintings and is still facing a July trial—more legal bills—to answer the claim made by the museum that the school has violated the conditions of O’Keeffe’s gift, in particular to exhibit the collection intact. The collection has been in storage at the Frist Center since 2005, when the university determined that its gallery didn’t provide proper security or environmental controls. While the remedy the museum seeks is unspecified in the legal documents, the threat of reversion of the collection back to the museum, as the successor to O’Keeffe’s estate, looms. Fisk could lose the art ...."

If Fisk does lose the art, the Tennessee Attorney General's decision to reverse course and withdraw his approval of the settlement the parties had reached will turn out to have been a colossal blunder. Under the proposed settlement, Fisk would have ended up with more than $20 million in cash and ownership of 99 of the 101 pieces in the Stieglitz Collection. Now it seems possible the university (and the State of Tennessee) could end up with nothing at all.