3rd Chamber of Paris Judicial Court’s verdict – Friday 8th of July 2022.
Sculpture-maker Daniel Druet made sculptures for artist Maurizio Cattelan’s artworks’ projects for over twenty years. Now, he wants to be recognized as sole author for eight artworks credited to Maurizio Cattelan.
The case was brought to the Paris Judicial Court.
Maurizio Cattelan – Him, 2001, wax, human hair, suit, polyester resin and pigment, 101 × 43.1 × 63.5 cm, photo: Christie’s
Maurizio Cattelan – La Nona ora, 1999, polyester resin, natural hairs, accessories, stone, carpet, photo : Gallery Perrotin
Who is Maurizio Cattelan?
Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist, particularly known for his “taste for irreverence and the absurd, but also his profound interrogation of socially ingrained norms and hierarchies.” 
In the late 1990s, Cattelan began to create hyper-realistic figural sculptures, such as Mini-me (1999), La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi (2000), Him (2001) and “La Nona Ora” (1999).
More recently he exhibited “Comedian” (2019), a banana, duck-taped to a wall with detailed instructions and diagrams for its proper display.
He is mainly represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.
Who is Daniel Druet?
Daniel Druet is a French sculptor of wax sculptures of some renown in France, an academically trained winner of the Prix de Rome. He created many wax figures for the Grévin museum. Since 1999, Daniel Druet has done many sculptures for Maurizio Cattelan, among them La Nona Ora (1999), “Him” (2001).
Who did Daniel Druet bring an action against?
- Maurizio Cattelan’s gallery, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, as Daniel Druet’s requests to be mentioned on the gallery’s labels of the disputed wax figures as sculptor-maker instead of Maurizio Cattelan were repetitively denied.
- The company Turenne Editions – the publishing company belonging to Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, as it reproduced pictures of the artworks without mentioning Daniel
- The museum Monnaie de Paris, which showed four of Cattelan’s works from 21 October 2016 to 8th January 2017 in the exhibition “Cattelan, not afraid of love” without mentioning Daniel Druet’s name as sculptor-maker.
Maurizio Cattelan, Frank and Jamie, 2002, Wax and clothes; Photo: Artnet
What did the court decide?
The 3rd Chamber of the Paris Judicial Court, specialised in intellectual property law, examined the case, and gave its verdict on Friday 8th of July 2022.
The Court first established the right owner of the rights claimed on the artworks.
The judges stated that according to article L. 113-1 of the French Intellectual Property Code “Authorship shall belong, unless proved otherwise to the person or persons under whose name the work has been disclosed.” [to the public]. There is thus a presumption of authorship for the person who disclosed the artworks.
In the this case, the disputed works, over which Daniel Druet claims exclusive ownership of rights are the artworks known as the « La Nona Ora, 1999 », « La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi, 2000 »; « Sans titre, 2000 »; « Him, 2001 »; « Frank and Jamie, 2002 »; « Stephanie, 2002 »; « Betsy, 2002 »; and « Now, 2004 ».
In its decision, the Court makes a difference between:
- the wax-sculptures, and
- the artwork unveiled to the public in a certain setting and under a certain name: the sculptures as displayed in an original setting, forming an original work (e.g., in the artwork Frank and Jamie, 2002, the wax sculptures are always displayed with the policemen upside down).
In his summons, Daniel Druet claimed right of authorship on the artworks as disclosed to the public, meaning the wax-sculptures as displayed in its original setting.
On this matter, the Court observes all artwork displays have been made under the direction and instruction of Maurizio Cattelan only. Moreover, the artworks were disclosed under his name alone, both in the press, where he is systematically presented as their sole author, and at the exhibitions.
However, Daniel Druet did not bring an action against Maurizio Cattelan directly. Maurizio Cattelan was summoned to the proceedings following a request of forced participation [intervention forcée] submitted by the museum Monnaie de Paris. Indeed, for their exhibition, the museum Monnaie de Paris had concluded an agreement with Maurizio Cattelan for the loan of works and on the intellectual property rights. They thus summoned in indemnity the artist Maurizio Cattelan in the proceedings in case they were condemned by the court. Maurizio Cattelan’s forced intervention in the trial by the museum Monnaie de Paris does not create any legal relationship between Maurizio Cattelan and Daniel Druet. (Cass. 1ère civ, 15 May 2015, n° 14-11.685) Therefore, the intervention of Maurizio Cattelan does not mean he can be considered a defendant in the legal action brought by Daniel Druet.
As Druet did not summon Maurizio Cattelan, currently recognized as the author of the artworks thanks to the presumption of authorship (Art. L. 113-1 French Intellectual Property Code), Daniel Druet’s request to be recognized as sole author is dismissed by the Court. According to the judges it is not possible to ask to be recognized as the author of an artwork and holder of the affiliated intellectual property rights without bringing an action against the currently presumed artist himself directly.
However, it would have been interesting to see the Court’s position if Daniel Druet’s claim had been limited to the wax-figures only and not the artwork as displayed to the public.
Likewise, what if Daniel Druet had brought an action directed against Maurizio Cattelan himself to be recognized as co-author of the artworks as displayed, instead of asking for the sole authorship via other parties?
Daniel Druet has the possibility to appeal the court’s decision until 9th August 2022.
 Guggenheim’s notice of Maurizio Cattelan https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/maurizio-cattelan