The Velvet Underground and the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have settled their lawsuit over the right to control iconic “banana” image from the cover of the 1967 legendary The Velvet Underground and Nico album. An earlier September 7, 2012 ruling for the Warhol Foundation finding that that the Velvet Underground had agreed not to sue on any copyright theories left unanswered questions of whether the band had claim to a superseding trademark in the image that would allow it, and not the Warhol Foundation, to control the image’s reproduction. The dispute is now over, and those questions will not be judicially resolved.
We’ve been following a number of prominent stories for several weeks now and thinking about what they mean in the crossover between art and the law. It’s fair to say that a theme is starting to develop, namely, that after the Beltracchi forgery trial in Cologne, the Warhol Foundation’s decision to close its doors to authentication requests, and the brewing scandal over the authenticity of paintings sold by Knoedler and other galleries, the legal significance of knowing—and even asking—the age-old question from Art History 101—“who made that?”—has come again to the fore.
Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Knoedler, slander, The Art Newspaper, Riah Pryor, Pierre Lagrange, Inc., Degas, Jackson Pollock, libel, catalogue raisonné, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Collections, Francis Bacon, The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, defamation, Georgina Adam, The Art Law Blog, connoisseurship