The sculptor Daniel Druet claims, in court, the paternity of works signed by Maurizio Cattelan

The French sculptor Daniel Druet opposed, on Friday, before the court of Paris, the artist Maurizio Cattelan. He asks to be recognized as the author of nine well-known works by the Italian artist.

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan poses near his sculpture depicting Pope John Paul II “La Nona Ora” on October 17, 2016 in Paris. © AFP / Alain Jocard

Who is the author of a work? Issue debated thousands of times before civil justice, very often in a small room, generally in an almost general indifference. The dozens of people who crowded this Friday morning in front of the courtroom of the Paris judicial court show to what extent the file examined by the third room, specialized in intellectual property, arouses the expectations of some and the concerns of others : French sculptor Daniel Druet, 80, twice Grand Prix de Rome, author of numerous statues at the Grévin museum, asks to be recognized as the author of nine works commissioned by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, made between 1999 and 2006, as well as four million euros in compensation.

However, these sculptures are then staged by Maurizio Cattelan. In the background of this hearing, the question of intellectual property in conceptual art is played out. Because, the latter, to summarize broadly, does not consist of highlighting a work as an object (a sculpture, for example), but rather of transmitting an idea, a message. A concept.

“If we wanted an interpreter, we would not have chosen Daniel Druet”

So what is the work based on? The staging or the central object? For Daniel Druet’s lawyer, Maurizio Cattelan certainly gave written instructions, but “there is creative work behind“. In his eyes, the success of the works would be nothing without the talent of his client:”He sculpted Coluche, Bocuse, Depardieu. He is the only one to have sculpted François Mitterrand during his lifetime.It reminds me of Jean-Baptise Bourgeois. There are thousands of sculptors who sculpt. Sculptors who sculpt like Daniel Druet, there are not five. If we wanted an interpreter, we would not have chosen Daniel Druet, who is not the cheapest on the market. He has that artistic magic in the thumbs of him.“. Holding a photo of the “Him” installation, which shows a child with the head of Hitler, he insists: “Look at that look, that terrifying look!“.

The lawyer points out that “by his own admission”Maurizio Cattelan does not know how to paint, draw or sculpt: “If we had replaced Daniel Druet with Maurizio Cattelan, would we have had the same sculptures? Of course not, because there would have been no sculptures. !”.

Instructions with “mathematical precision”

He asks to be the author of the Nona Ora, of Him, not of the Pope, not of Hitler”, details, for his part, Pierre-Olivier Sur. He is the lawyer for Emmanuel Perrotin, the gallery owner of Maurizio Cattelan. He is also the subject of the complaint. “Even if you had asked about the authorship of the Hitler statue in the He play, we could have answered!“. However, the lawyer insists, there is “a scene consisting“. As for the instructions given by the Italian artist to the sculptor, they are “with mathematical precision“: angle of a look, inclination of a bust, eyelids to lower three millimeters…

Conceptual art consists of projecting an emotion onto the receiver, not through an object, but through a situation. All links are important, but if we change Druet’s link, it doesn’t matter“, affirms Me Sur, in front of a Didier Druet who charges. Maurizio Cattelan, held in New York, is absent.

Material realization “in the background”

Looking for the author means looking for the original work and seeing where the expression of creative genius lies.“, abounds Renaud Le Gunhec, lawyer of the Monnaie de Paris, also the target of the sculptor’s complaint, stressing that these sculptures are not “pre-existing the creation of Maurizio Cattelan“.

“_It’s not about saying that any idea should be protected, it’s about saying that when an idea materializes through important elections, there is protection,” insists Eric Andrieu, the Italian artist’s lawyer, highlighting the creative. process: “The material realization of the work occupies a second place in relation to its conception.“The decision is reserved for July 8.

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