Luc Tuymans Reaches an ‘Artistic’ Settlement In His Dirty Plagiarism Case

What will the owner of the piece do now?

Luc Tuymans. Photo courtesy of
Luc Tuymans, <em>A Belgian Politician</em> (2011).

Luc Tuymans, A Belgian Politician (2011).

Belgian artist Luc Tuymans has finally settled the plagiarism claims leveled against him for his painting based on a photo of politician Jean-Marie Dedecker taken by Katrijn Van Giel for Belgian newspaper De Standaard.

According to the Art Newspaper, Van Giel and Tuymans have released a joint statement explaining that they have decided “to settle their dispute, as artists and in an artistic way, rather than to allow it to be settled in a court of law.” The two parties are calling their out-of-court agreement “amicable,” though the exact terms are confidential.

Katrijn van Giel’s original photograph of Jean Marie Dedecker.  Photo:

Katrijn van Giel’s original photograph of Jean Marie Dedecker.

In January, Tuymans was found guilty of infringing upon Van Giel’s copyright with painting A Belgian Politician (2011). Tuymans admitted that the work depicting the leading right-wing Belgian politician was based on Van Giel’s photo, but appealed the guilty verdict, which prevented him from making further copies of the piece under penalty of a €500,000 ($579,000) fine.

The artist’s legal defense had claimed that the painting was protected under parody grounds, and was a critique of Belgian conservatism. (This past year, the European Union passed a new law allowing artists to parody copyrighted works.)

Luc TuymansPhoto: via Portlandart

Luc Tuymans
Photo: via Portlandart

The  statement notes that Van Giel “relinquishes her legal action,” while her lawyer, Dieter Delarue, told TAN that Tuymans’s painting can “be sold and traded on the market again.”

Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky currently owns the controversial piece.

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