There’s sure to be a memory or two sparked on Sunday, September 20 when Lot 6476 in Clars Auction Gallery’s September Fine Art & Antique sale goes under the hammer. A photo taken by American professional Art Rogers, it was once the center of a seminal copyright case that saw one of America’s leading artists come away with the proverbial black eye.
Where it all began - eight adorable puppies wade into the cutthroat world of art
The story begins in 1988, when artist Jeff Koons, deciding to create a sculpture called "String of Puppies," sent a greeting card bought in an airport gift shop to his workers in Italy. The photograph, which featured a couple holding eight German Shepherd puppies, became the model for four Koons sculptures, three of which sold for a total of $367,000 at SoHo’s Sonnabend Gallery.
"String of Puppies" by Jeff Koons
Upon discovering his picture had been copied, Rogers sued Koons and the Sonnabend Gallery for copyright infringement. Koons admitted to having copied the image intentionally, but attempted to claim fair use by parody. The court rejected this argument, awarding Rogers a large monetary settlement, as well as requiring Koons to ship the fourth sculpture to Rogers.
Clars Auction Gallery’s September Fine Art & Antique auction is 931 lots strong and features curated collectibles covering a diverse range of categories including furniture, glassware, jewelry, fine art, weapons, porcelain and more.