12:15pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Attorney General Fears Impact on Future Donations

Fisk Granted Permission to Sell Stieglitz Art

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Fisk University can share its Stieglitz art collection with Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas.

The court also removed a trial court stipulation that required Fisk to put $20 million of the $30 million it expects to get from Crystal Bridges into an endowment. The lower court had said Fisk should put that amount aside to maintain the art in the future.

Fisk has said it needs all of the funds now to stay financially viable.

The collection was a gift from the late painter Georgia O'Keeffe. One of the conditions of the donation was that Fisk never sell the collection.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper cited that stipulation when he brought the suit against Fisk back in the spring. Cooper told WMOT News then that he feared the impact selling the artwork would have on future donations.

"If donors don't think that their wishes will be respected in the future, when they're no longer around, then they'll be less willing to make the gift."

The only reaction to the ruling from the Attorney General’s office so far is that it is studying the Tennessee Appeals Court ruling.