Artist Ida Ekblad Wins the Right to Feature a CEO’s 6-Year-Old Daughter in Her Work

A Hamburg court lifted an injunction filed by the executive.

Ida Ekblad. Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Blain Southern.

Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert has lost the lawsuit he brought against the Kunsthaus Hamburg and the Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad over an appropriated ad image featuring his six-year-old daughter. On Thursday, a Hamburg court lifted an injunction forbidding the museum from showing the picture. Even though the exhibition has ended, the ruling means that Ekblad and the museum may show the work in the future.

In March, the Reichert family secured a court order forcing the small institution to take down the artwork depicting the image of the little girl, which the artist sourced from an ad for the German sandal manufacturer.

Ekblad says she used the image because it reminded her of how she looked as a child. The parents, however, said they feared that they would lose control over their daughter’s image rights. After the injunction was filed, the museum was forced to close for two days while the artist replaced the image of Reichert’s daughter with an image of herself as a child.

In the ruling, the judge explained that the family’s concerns over their daughter’s privacy and personal rights were unfounded as she had already been featured in two Birkenstock ads. The family has “been willing to present [their daughter] to a very large audience,” the judge said.

In a separate copyright lawsuit brought against Ekblad by the Birkenstock commissioned fashion photographer Anders Overgaard, the Hamburg higher regional court ruled on July 4 that the artist’s use of the ad doesn’t infringe the photographer’s copyrights or moral rights and is permissible under the constitutional right of artistic freedom.

Speaking to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the executive director of the Kunsthaus Hamburg said the rulings are “a positive signal for artistic freedom.”

Ekblad and Kunsthaus Hamburg’s attorney Jakob Braeuer was not immediately available for comment, and the Reichert family attorney Konstantin Wegner did not respond to artnet News’ request for comment.


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