The creator of Maurizio Cattelan’s wax prototypes claims he is the real owner of the artist’s most famous works and is suing for millions

In 1999, the artist Maurizio Cattelan reached a level of virality almost unimaginable in the pre-social media era when he displayed a wax figure of Pope John Paul II struck by a meteorite.

Now the creator and hand behind that work, as well as some of Cattelan’s other most popular works, a sculptor by the name of Daniel Druet, claim that he was deprived of his intellectual property by the waving bananas star of Gallery Perrotin.

In a new lawsuit, Druet claims that: nine of Cattelan’s best-known works are actually based on original wax models made by Druet. Gallery Perrotin says there were only four: The ninth hour, the revolution is we, he, and Untitled (or Kleine Cattelan van Rotterdam)† Druet is now demanding full authorship and recognition from Cattelan and the gallery, in addition to monetary compensation totaling millions, according to The worldthat was in the news last week.

Druet aims to become “exclusive author” of the Cattelan sculptures, demanding nearly €5 million ($5.25 million) in compensation for infringement of his intellectual property, the paper said.

In addition, Druet is claiming damages from the Monnaie de Paris, a museum that major retrospective of Cattelan’s work in 2016, alleging that the museum was complicit in the unauthorized appropriation of Druet’s original wax figures.

The lawsuit ultimately alleges that Druet’s rights as an author were violated because he was never named as the creator of the original models and was instead described as a subcontractor.

In a statement to Artnet News, Perrotin said Druet’s claims are unfounded and threaten to disrupt the basics of how art is made in the 21st century. However, the gallery acknowledged that Druet had made many of the original physical molds and prototypes, but that the ideas and concepts were original to Cattelan.

“The issue of authorship in conceptual art is at the heart of the dispute between Maurizio Cattelan and Daniel Druet,” Perrotin said in the statement. “There is no doubt that the personality of Maurizio Cattelan exists in all his works through the creative choices he makes, the staging and the meaning that each viewer finds.”

According to Pierre-Olivier Sur, counsel for Galerie Perrotin, “the 100-year-old jurisprudence that currently determines the criteria for determining the authorship of a work of art is not suitable for conceptual art.”

While both sides admit that the terms of their partnership were initially ill-defined (Druet described them as “vague” to The world), the case promises to be a milestone in establishing the extent to which artists can outsource their work before others involved in the artistic process can challenge his IP.

“We were naive,” Emmanuel Perrotin told the French newspaper, noting that Druet and Cattelan “didn’t talk about a contract.” He added that Cattelan paid the sculptor for his work and that he was not in any financial arrears with Druet.

The case will begin on May 13 in a chamber of the Paris court devoted to intellectual property.

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