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Crystal Bridges Makes an Offer on Persephone

You probably haven’t noticed, but Crystal Bridges is (unsurprisingly) making a bid for Fisk University’s Georgia O’Keefe collection. Artnet News summarizes:

In an offer described as coming “out of left field,” Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton has written directly to Tennessee attorney general Robert Cooper, offering to buy a 50 percent stake in the art collection of Fisk University in Nashville for $30 million. According to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Walton is proposing that the 101-piece collection, given to the college in 1949 by Georgia O’Keeffe, would remain at Fisk for half the year, and be shown in its entirety for the other half of the year at the new Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark.

Walton’s proposal comes in the middle of a long-running dispute between the attorney general, Fisk and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M. The financially strained Fisk, a historically black university, had hoped to sell the O’Keeffe masterpiece Radiator Building (1927) [left] and a painting by Marsden Hartley to raise funds for new staff and facilities. The museum, which represents the O’Keeffe estate, opposed the sale on the grounds that the terms of O’Keeffe’s gift bar the school from selling the works. Though Radiator Building could be worth $30 million or more on the open market, a proposal heading for a Tennessee court on Sept. 8, 2007, would allow the museum to buy the O’Keeffe for its collection for $7.5 million, and let the university sell the Hartley to the highest bidder.

Both the museum and the university support the settlement, but Walton’s bid adds a new element of uncertainty.

High-profile acquisitions like this make me salty.



Is it good or bad to be salty?

It’s good unless the salt loses its saltiness, in which case, not good.

Which is to say: hell if I know.

Barring some court order, it looks like the deal’s done.