Fisk University confirmed Sunday it received one or more offers "at or in excess of $20 million" for Georgia O'Keeffe's Radiator Building painting.
However, none of the offers met undisclosed requirements negotiated between the university and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. State Attorney General Bob Cooper had given Fisk 30 days to find an alternative way to raise money that would keep the painting and one other in Nashville.
The 30-day deadline passed at 5 p.m. Sunday.
At that point, Fisk spokesman Ken West read a statement announcing that Fisk "has not received alternative sources of funding which would allow Fisk to retain the Radiator Building or Marsden Hartley's 1913 Painting No. 3.
"However, Fisk has received unsolicited interest to purchase the Radiator Building, which would result in the painting's leaving Fisk."
West said that there was "at least one" offer for the Radiator Building and that it was "at or in excess of $20 million."
Fisk is seeking to sell both paintings — part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection donated to the school by O'Keeffe in 1949 — to help restore its endowment and pull itself out of financial crisis.
The Radiator Building painting was donated along with 101 other artworks from the estate of her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who owned several New York City galleries. Stieglitz is credited with playing a large role in exposing Americans to emerging aesthetic trends in the early 20th century, and O'Keeffe's Radiator Building is considered to be a star in his collection.
Between the years 2000 and 2004, Fisk was forced to pull nearly $8 million from its endowments in order to meet operational costs. Fisk President Hazel O'Leary earlier this month laid out a plan that would take money from the sale of the two paintings and put $8 million back into the endowment. O'Leary also plans to begin a capital campaign to raise another $8 million, hoping to use the restoration of the endowment as a way of building momentum.
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