jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture
jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture
nov 09, 2018

jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture

a french judge has found jeff koons guilty of plagiarism after copying an idea from a surreal 1980s ad campaign for french clothing brand naf naf. the court has fined the artist along with the museum which exhibited the contested work depicting a piglet and a freezing model.

jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture

image courtesy of christie’s

header image courtesy of @kelexpo / twitter



franck davidovici, a french advertising executive, sued koons for plagiarism over koons’ ‘fait d’hiver‘ from 1988, a porcelain sculpture depicting a similar scene to his 1985 campaign for naf naf. the women’s ready-to-wear label featured a pig with a cask of brandy around its neck beside a freezing model, a scene replicated by koons. according to artnet davidovici asked for €300,000 ($352,000) in damages and for koons’s sculpture to be seized by the state.

jeff koons found guilty of plagiarising french ad with multi-million-pound sculpture

franck davidovici’s ‘fait d’hiver’ ad campaign for naf naf (1985)



the artist, his business, and the french museum have been ordered to pay davidovici a total of €135,000 ($153,000) in compensation. jeff koons LLC was also fined €11,000 for reproducing the pig on koons’s website, and a publishing house that sold a book in which the work was reproduced, was fined €2,000. the court has not ordered the seizure of the artwork, which was bought by the prada foundation for around $3.7 million (£2.8m) at christie’s in new york in 2007.

  • These two items are fundamentally very different. So no case to answer. Anyway, Naf Naf should be pleased and proud that such a renowned artist chose to depict something similar to their advert that appeared 37 years ago.

    Don’t they make sufficient profit from their core business, or is it a case of any publicity is good publicity. Do let’s make a fuss.

    Johnb says:
  • In what way had Naf Naf experienced any damages by this ‘plagiarism’? Should that be a ‘conditio sine qua non’??

    Fred Sevriens says:
  • An interesting aspect of the case that has not been reported in most journals is that the claimant, Frank Davidovici, was not the sole author of the work, which was the basis of an ad campaign. The visual elements were conceptualized and executed by an established French Art Director, Elisabeth Bonamy, a fact Davidovici has been diligent in failing to mention.
    As only a co-author, M. Davidovici could not raise a claim on his own. Accordingly, Mme. Bonamy, who worked on the whole campaign, ceded her commercial rights to him in order to facilitate the lawsuit. Mme. Bonamy did not, however, cede her right to be recognised as co-author.
    No journal to date has asked M. Davidovici why he persistently fails to give her credit.‎
    Ironically, it is the very sort of behaviour that M. Davidovici is attributing to Mr. Koons.

    Derham O'Neill says:

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