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Jeff Koons, Naked, 1988. Courtesy of Phillips.
Jeff Koons, Naked, 1988. Courtesy of Phillips.

Jeff Koons Loses Appeal in Copyright Case over Naked Sculpture

A Paris appeals court has upheld a 2017 ruling which found Jeff Koons guilty of plagiarism. It determined that Naked, a sculpture Koons created in 1988 for his “Banality” series, copied a photograph of two naked children—a little boy and a girl holding flowers—titled Enfants, by the late French photographer Jean-François Bauret. The image was also published as a postcard in 1975. 

According to the Associated Press, Koons and the Centre Pompidou have been ordered to pay more than $22,000 in damages to Bauret’s heirs. Koons’s studio must compensate the family an additional $4,000 for using a picture of the sculpture on the artist’s website. Stephanie Legrand, the lawyer representing Bauret’s descendants, said: “The continued use of his image in France is banned by the court, which is a great success for my clients.”

While the sculpture was set to be on view in a major retrospective of the artist that was staged at the Centre Pompidou in November 2014, it was never installed. The piece was damaged as it was being transported to the museum. The court still found the Centre Pompidou culpable for the copyright infringement because the institution reproduced pictures of the work in advertisements and for its marketing campaign for the show.