COPYRIGHT – Italian Supreme Court on attribution of Koons’ artwork

Newsletter n. 90 – November 2023

COPYRIGHT

Italian Supreme Court on attribution of Koons’ artwork

On 7 August 2023, the Italian Supreme Court issued Decision No. 23935/2023 (“Decision”) in a case involving the artist Jeff Koons and an Italian collector who started proceedings against the artist in 2016 to obtain a declaration that Koons was the author of the porcelain sculpture titled “The Serpents”. After acquiring the sculpture, the collector tried to contact Koons privately, but the latter responded that the work was “an unsatisfactory prototype which should have been destroyed and is therefore not an authorised or authentic work by Jeff Koons”. In 2021, the Court of Appeal of Milan ruled in favour of the collector, i.e., Koons was to be considered the author of the sculpture. Koons filed an appeal before the Supreme Court. The Decision confirmed the Court of Appeal ruling, pointing out that Koons acknowledged that the sculpture did indeed originate from him, even though he would have preferred it to be destroyed.