U.S. Supreme Court Orders Warhol Foundation to Pay Lynn Goldsmith Royalties

By Le Figaro with AFP



Supreme Court rules Lynn Goldsmith should be compensated for Andy Warhol’s reuse of a portrait of Prince. STEFANI REYNOLDS / AFP

The photographer wins her fight against the Andy Warhol Foundation and will receive many royalties for the transformation of her picture of Prince by the painter, icon of Pop Art.

A photographer, whose snapshot of the musician Prince was used by the painter Andy Warholshould have received royalties, judged on Thursday the United States Supreme Court. The dossier was closely followed by the art world. The Court, by a majority of seven out of nine judges, found that Lynn Goldsmith should have been compensated because the portrait inspired by her work had a use “commercial» : it was used on the cover of a magazine.

At the heart of the conflict: sixteen screen-printed portraits produced in 1984 by thepop art popefrom a photo of the legendary musician taken three years earlier by Lynn Goldsmith. The photographer, known for having immortalized several rock stars, requested copyright from the Andy Warhol Foundation, which refused them. After conflicting court decisions, the Supreme Court ruled. This decision thereby clarifies the right of intellectual property in terms of so-called “transformative», that is to say which borrow from a first work to end up with an original creation.

In 1981, Lynn Goldsmith proposed to the weekly Newsweek to draw the portrait of a musician who begins to break through. She takes several black and white shots of the young man with fine features. In 1984, the album Purple Rain propels Prince to stardom. The magazine Vanity Fair wants to devote an article to him and asks Andy Warhol to paint his portrait in the style of his famous colored engravings of Marilyn Monroe Or Mao.

For 400 dollars, Lynn Goldsmith authorizes the magazine to use one of her photos for the exclusive use of this article. Entitled Purple Fame, the text is accompanied by Prince’s face, purple skin and jet-black hair, which is silhouetted against a bright orange background. The caption credits both the artist and the photographer.

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The story would have ended there, if Andy Warhol had not declined this photo in all tones to create a series of 16 portraits of the musician, whom he admired for his talent and his androgynous style. Lynn Goldsmith discovered their existence in 2016 when Prince diedWhen Vanity Fair published on the front page an image of the “Kid of Minneapolisfrom her photo but all orange this time.

She then contacted the Andy Warhol Foundation, which has managed the artist’s collection since his death in 1987 and had received $10,250 for this publication. The foundation immediately took legal action to have its exclusive rights to the series recognized. The photographer counterattacked. A trial judge ruled in favor of the foundation, finding that Andy Warhol had transformed the message of the work.

According to the judge, Lynn Goldsmith focused on showing Prince as a person “vulnerable, uncomfortable“, while the portraits of Andy Warhol underline his status as “icon larger than life“. An appeals court, however, invalidated his reasoning, finding that the judges could not play “art critics and analyze intentions and messages works», and had to content themselves with evaluating the visual similarities between the works. According to his decision, Andy Warhol did not “addition or of changesufficient to owe nothing to Lynn Goldsmith.

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The foundation then turned to the Supreme Court, asking it to reject the “amazingrequest from Lynn Goldsmith. Photographer “wants that there Court declares the work of Andy Warhol – who is universally recognized as A XX geniuse century at the origin of the Pop Art movement – non-transformative and therefore illegal“, choke his lawyers in a statement sent to the high court.

But she doesn’t see it that way. Her argument recalls that she was paid and credited in 1984 and not in 2016. “The right of there intellectual property cannot have a ruler for purple serigraphs and a another for the oranges“, note its representatives. The nine wise men of the Court have chosen to agree with Lynn Goldsmith.

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