Bruised Soul of the Artist: A Tribute to Sheldon W. Halpern
13 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2020
Date Written: 2017
In an unusual case, Scottish-born painter Peter Doig was accused of wrongfully denying the authenticity of a painting he insisted he did not paint, to the financial detriment of the work’s owner. Doig won the case against him, which commenced in 2013 and continued for three years. United States District Judge Gary Feinerman ultimately ruled that the evidence presented in a week-long trial proved “conclusively” that Doig did not paint the plaintiff owner’s painting. The case raised concerns about whether a living artist should ever be required by law to authenticate a work of art ascribed to him or her and face civil liability for denying authenticity. While victorious, Peter Doig complained that justice was “long overdue” and that the issue that “a living artist has to defend the authorship of his own work should never have come to pass.” There is a moral argument from the importance of dignity and inviolate personality that Doig is correct. Yet, other arguments press in another direction.
Keywords: arts, art law, artist authentication, art forgery, counterfeit art free speech, torts, intellectual property, artist rights, human rights law, human dignity, secret art
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