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Jul 27, 2016 12:29 PM EDT

Fisk University Sold Prized Stettheimer Painting That Violated Art Conditions


It is not a strange thing for universities and school to receive funding and works of art. One such school like Fisk University received a collection of prized works of art from Alfred Stieglitz. The collector's widow, Georgia O'Keeffe, sounded off that the school violated the foundation's conditions.

Fisk University was accused of selling off two paintings several years ago. It has been challenged legally which ended in a deal in 2012 that allowed Fisk to share its collection with Crystal Bridges - the museum in Arkansas. This compromise brought the struggling university $30 million in infusion.

However, it was not known at the time that some things were happening under the table. According to New York Times, two other paintings were sold off by the school prior to the deal. It was reported that Hazel O'Leary, Fisk's University president at the time, quietly sold off the pieces of art.

The first painting, called "Asbury Park South" was the first major work by Stettheimer to be sold in the market. It was reported that the art work was sold by Fisk U with information that the painting was donated to the university with no other conditions attached to it.

Fisk's under-the-table sale was an attempt to pay expenses and financial distress caused by the school's expansions. Lydnel King, the director of Weisman Museum expressed her disappointment. "Shame on them," she said. As a chairwoman of the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections, Fisk U's actions were against the ethics of their profession.

At the moment, Frank Sims, the interim president announced that he is making sure that they are dealing with the issue in order to avoid instances like that again. "We hope we are never confronted with having to make that kind of decision again," said Sims.

To find out more about Fisk University, check out the tour of the Historic buildings on the campus in the video below.

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