A judge in Nashville has ruled that Fisk University cannot sell any of the 101 works of art donated to it by artist Georgia O'Keeffe in 1949.
Fisk, a historically African-American university, wants to sell two works — O'Keeffe's Radiator Building:Night, New York and Marsden Hartley's Painting No. 3 — to build its endowment.
It has been battling in the courts since 2005 over the sale.
On Tuesday, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ordered the university not to sell any of the works in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, noting they were donated by O'Keeffe to be used for art education.
"Dividing the collection destroys the identity and effect of the charitable purpose [of O'Keeffe's gift]," she said in her written decision.
O'Keeffe had placed stringent limits on what could be done with the collection.
The collection, compiled by O'Keeffe's photographer husband, Alfred Stieglitz, includes99 works by artists such as Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as two O'Keeffes.
Fisk had made a deal in 2005 to sell the O'Keeffe painting tothe Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., for $7 million. The museum was established in 1997 with the assets of her estate and is dedicated to preserving her memory.
The Tennessee attorney general blocked the sale after other higher bids were submitted.
O'Keeffe, who died in 1986, is best known for her modernist paintings of the American southwest.