Andy Warhol Foundation Files Petition After Prince Series Ruling

The effects of this case could be massive

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol at the Factory with posters for Tub Girls (1967) and Lonesome Cowboys (1968).
Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

In March, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that could have a significant impact on anyone creating transformative works of art. The issue at hand involved Andy Warhol’s Prince Series, a group of paintings of Prince’s face from 1984. Photographer Lynn Goldsmith sued the Andy Warhol Foundation, arguing that the Warhol paintings utilized a portrait she’d taken of the musician in 1981. In 2019, a federal court found in favor of the Warhol Foundation; two years later, however, the appeals court ruled in favor of Goldsmith.

The Art Newspaper reports that the Foundation has pushed back, filing an en banc petition with the appeals court. And while this case already involves high-profile figures, its implications could be even more significant.

At The Art Newspaper, Daniel Cassady provided more information on the petition and its implications – including a quote from the Foundation’s law firm, Lathan & Watkins. They argued that the existing ruling from the appeals court “threatens to render unlawful many of the most historically significant contemporary art works of the last half-century as a result of the panel’s narrow conception of the ‘fair use’ doctrine.”

The legal case itself may focus on Lynn Goldsmith’s photographs and Andy Warhol’s paintings, but the resolution of the case is likely to affect far more works of art, old and new.

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