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Court rules against museum

July 16, 2009|Associated Press

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum may represent the painter's estate but has no right to an art collection she donated to Fisk University, Tennessee's Court of Appeals has ruled.

In the ruling filed Tuesday, the court said any right O'Keeffe had to most of the 101 works of art ended with her death.

The financially struggling university had asked a lower court for permission to sell two of the works -- O'Keeffe's 1927 oil painting "Radiator Building -- Night, New York" and Marsden Hartley's "Painting No. 3."

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum objected to the plan, arguing that Fisk was violating the terms of the bequest, which required that the works be displayed together, and asking for the artwork to be turned over to the estate.

The Davidson County Chancery Court blocked the sale, ordering last year that the university had to take the collection out of storage and put it back on display or forfeit it to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

But the state appeals court overturned that decision, ruling the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum has no right to the work and no standing in court.

Representatives of the museum could not be reached for comment. They will have 60 days to appeal the decision.

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