French Court Tosses Out Sculptor’s Lawsuit Over Authorship of Maurizio Cattelan Works

A French judge has dismissed a lawsuit over whether Maurizio Cattelan could be considered the true author of some of his most famous sculptures.

Sculptor Daniel Druet had sued Cattelan’s gallery, Perrotin, and the Monnaie de Paris, the art space that mounted a Cattelan show in 2016. Druet claimed that he was the true maker of nine of Cattelan’s works, among them Him, a famed 2001 sculpture of a kneeling Adolf Hitler.

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The Paris court that issued the decision said that Druet, a maker of wax effigies, was effectively working for hire when Cattelan asked him to help produce the works and was therefore not the author of these objects.

The judgement reads, in part, “Daniel Druet was in no position – nor did he seek to do so – to take the slightest part in the choices relating to the scenic setting of the said effigies (choice of building and size of the rooms housing a given character, direction of the gaze, lighting, even the destruction of a glass roof or the parquet floor to make the staging more realistic and striking) or the content of the possible message to be conveyed through this staging.”

Druet and Emmanuel Perrotin, the founder of the Paris-based gallery that represents Cattelan, agreed that the terms of the agreement between the sculptor and Cattelan were blurry. But the two diverged on whether that should ultimately matter when it comes to determining who was the true author of these works.

According to Le Monde, Druet must pay 10,000 euros to Perrotin and the Monnaie de Paris. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he intended to appeal the decision, the French publication said.

Pierre-Yves Gautier and Pierre-Olivier Sur, two lawyers representing Perrotin, said in a statement, “beyond this court decision, it is conceptual art that is now protected by the rule of law.”


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