Maurizio Cattelan Sued Over Authorship of Works
May 4th, 2022
French sculptor Daniel Druet is suing Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan in a Paris court over claims that Druet was never credited for creating some of Cattelan’s best-known works, Le Monde reports. Druet, an accomplished shaper of wax who notably created a number of effigies on view at the Musée Grévin in Paris, and whose sitters have included Serge Gainsbourg and François Mitterand, has asked the court to name him sole author of a number of works currently attributed to Cattelan. Among these are La nona ora, 1999, a wax figure of Pope John Paul II prone and struggling under the weight of a colossal meteor resting on his thigh; Him, 2001, a life-size sculpture of an evidently remorseful Hitler kneeling and looking heavenward; and Stephanie, 2003, a likeness of model Stephanie Seymour, then the wife of megacollector Peter Brant, cupping her bare breasts while appearing to materialize from within a wall.
Druet is additionally asking for roughly $5.25 million in damages from Galerie Perrotin, which represents Cattelan, and the Monnaie de Paris, which held a retrospective of the Italian artist’s work in 2016. The French master of moulage contends that Cattelan in the late 1990s asked him to create a dozen sculptures and that he did so, but under “vague” terms of agreement. Perrotin corroborated Druet’s assessment of the accord, confirming that no contract was discussed, with dealer and owner Emmanuel Perrotin characterizing the gallery’s attitude as “naïve.” Druet and Perrotin agree that the French sculptor was compensated for his efforts at the time.
The trial concerning the matter is to begin May 13. Speaking with Artnews on behalf of Perrotin, attorney Pierre Olivier-Sur argued that the “hundred-year-old case law currently governing the criteria to determine an artwork’s authorship is unsuitable for conceptual art.” Sur further noted, “If precedent does not evolve, it could have serious consequences for the actors of the art world.”