Fisk University Not Giving Up Its Legal Fight for the Right to Sell Some of Its Artwork Collection

Amid continuing financial difficulties, Fisk University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, recently went back to court in an effort to secure the right to sell part of its 101-piece Stieglitz Collection, donated to the university by Georgia O’Keeffe. The donation stipulated that the collection must be kept intact and publicly displayed.

In order to raise operating funds, Fisk University has attempted to sell two paintings from the collection but was prevented from doing so by the court which cited the donation agreement. The university then sought to share the collection with a museum in Arkansas, but this too was not permitted by the courts. Fisk then maintained that it did not have the money to showcase the collection in an environment that would ensure the safety and protection of the works. The court then ordered Fisk to display the works or risk losing the collection.

Complying with the court order, this past October Fisk once again put the collection on display. But Fisk has now gone to the Tennessee Court of Appeals to try to reverse the previous ruling.