Back in April I had a chance to sound off about the kerfuffle involving the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and Fisk University.

Fisk is the owner of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection (O’Keefe’s husband) and since the university needs funds, they wanted to sell off a couple things. The museum made an offer and Fisk agreed to sell. Then the Tennessee Attorney General stepped in and said it wasn’t enough money.

Everyone stepped back, negotiations were had, and a new price was agreed on. Everything looked great.

But reading today’s ABQjournal, it seems things have gone south again.

Everybody was happy until one of the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune (with scads of money, no doubt) decided she wanted the painting for an as yet to be opened museum being built in Arkansas.

Long way around the barn, since the museum has rights to the estate of O’Keefe they could have sued to take ownership, and Fisk could have lost the entire collection. A Tennessee judge actually thought the university should risk it. A big risk, I’d say, for a cash strapped university. Not only the cost of legal fees but the risk of losing a big collection. I’m dumbfounded.

In a move that makes me sad, but shows the nature of the O’Keefe museum, they’ve decided to back off. They see no need to punish Fisk in this whole process.

And in the end, no one wins.


Here is the painting again…the one causing all the fuss, “Radiator Building— Night, New York”:

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