Canadian Artist Who Created Famous Coin Likeness of Queen Elizabeth Sues Vancouver Dealer

Susanna Blunt, the artist whose image of Queen Elizabeth II has graced Canadian coins since 2003, has filed a civil claim against a Vancouver dealer, alleging damage to a sculpture that allegedly “fell like dominos” at an exhibition. The lawsuit was first reported by the Vancouver Sun.

The lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 30 against Benjamin Lumb, of the Vancouver gallery Benjamin Lumb Art House. The suit also accuses Lumb of responsibility for the theft of a sculpture from a group show in 2021 that he curated as well as damage to a piece at a solo show of Blunt’s work at his former location in West Vancouver in June 2022.  Additionally, Blunt claims breach of contract and breach of duty of care “in an amount to be assessed.”

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The artist, who is now 83 years old, said she waited two years to file the claim due to “ill health.”

The claim states that at the 2022 exhibition, Lumb drilled a hole into one of Blunt’s sculptures and that he knocked over a plinth, causing a “domino effect” of damage to nearby works. The claim describes Lumb as “careless and negligent” when packaging her pieces after the show. According to the suit, Lumb apologized for the damage and promised he would repay Blunt the value of the stolen sculpture, “but to date has failed to do so.” Lumb is also accused of failing to report the theft to the police, as he had promised the artist.

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Lumb said, “I am taken aback by this. I do a lot of work for artists. We did a really good show and we sold the room and we increased her reputation and notoriety. We sold two of her pieces.” Lumb told the Art Newspaper that he learned of the lawsuit from the Vancouver Sun article. 

“I hadn’t had any communication from her since the end of the 2022 show,” he said. “There had never been any conversation about compensation for anything.”

Speaking to the claims of damaged works, he responded: “We collaboratively dropped a piece as we were placing it on a shelf. It fell and hit a plexiglass shelf. The piece that fell was damaged—but it was not irreparable.”

A gallery spokesperson did not respond to ARTnews’s request for comment.

Source: artnews.com

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