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Jeff Koons Sued for ‘Servile Copy’ of French Fashion Advert

The American artist is accused of plagiarizing an advertising campaign for his USD$3.7M Fait d’Hiver sculpture

Jeff Koons, Fait D’Hiver, 1988. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Ralph Orlowski

Jeff Koons, Fait D’Hiver, 1988. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Ralph Orlowski

Jeff Koons, Fait D’Hiver, 1988. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Ralph Orlowski

Jeff Koons was accused on Monday in a Parisian court of plagiarizing a French fashion advert, to create his sculpture Fait d’Hiver (1988). Creative director Frank Davidovici is suing Koons for EUR€300,000, alleging copyright infringement. According to the Daily Telegraph, Davidovici says the American artist produced a ‘servile copy’ of an advertizing campaign he produced for clothing brand Naf-Naf in 1985.

The Naf-Naf ad featured a girl lying in snow, her hair ruffled by a pig carrying a bottle of rum around its neck. Koons’s sculpture – part of his ‘Banality’ series, which was purchased by the Prada Foundation for USD$3.7 million at Christie’s, New York, in 2007 – shows a pig and penguin beside a fishnet-clad woman’s bust. Koons has previously claimed that he based the woman on the adult actress Ilona Staller.

Davidovici’s lawyer commented: ‘It’s the same work in three dimensions, to which Jeff Koons has added flowers and a penguin to evoke cold, with the aim of sticking to the original work.’ Paris’s Pompidou Centre, the Prada Foundation and publisher Flammarion are also being sued for reproducing images of the sculpture.

Koons’s studio and dealer Gagosian Gallery faced a lawsuit earlier this year from a collector who claimed that they had failed to deliver several pieces by the artist, despite him paying over USD$13 million for them. Collector Steven Tananbaum’s counsel agged a Ponzi-like scheme. Koons and Gagosian have both since moved to dismiss the lawsuit, calling it filled with ‘rambling and overwrought allegations’.

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