New York judge dismisses further counterclaims made by Robert Indiana’s estate against Morgan Art Foundation

LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, on the corner of 6th Avenue and 55th Street in New York.

A New York judge has further dismissed four claims made by Robert Indianas estate against the Morgan Art Foundation (MAF), the late artists long-time representative. The order tosses out most of the case brought by James W. Brannan, the estates personal representative, in what has been an acrimonious battle over the rights to Indianas works, including his iconic LOVE and HOPE sculptures, that has raged since the artist's death in 2018.

According to papers filed yesterday in a Southern District of New York court, Brannans counterclaims that the MAFs rights to reproduce Indianas work terminated after the artists death were largely dismissed. The remaining counterclaims that the Morgan failed to pay Indiana or his estate royalties on donations or loans of the artists work to museums or galleries, catalogue raisonné preparation or the operation of the website were also dismissed.

The Morgan claims it made two agreements with Indiana in 1999: one that gives the foundation the copyright and trademark to all images and sculptures that Indiana produced between 1960 and 2004 and the exclusive right to reproduce and sell the images. The other claims that the MAF has the exclusive right to fabricate and sell certain sculptures, including LOVE.

In her ruling, US Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses said that to "allow the estate to deny the continuing validity of the same contracts that it has affirmed and upon which it sues” would provide an “unfair advantage” to the estate and impose a corresponding “unfair detriment” on the foundation.

The judge did not dismiss the estates counterclaim that the Morgans adviser, Simon Salama-Caro, is liable to pay accounts and royalties also made in connection with purchases, sales or transfers of works produced pursuant to the Morgans agreements; this claim will be reviewed separately.

“This is a significant victory for Morgan Art Foundation. The court dismissed nearly all of the Estates case, including the most important legal theories it has been relying upon. And the very narrow areas the court allowed to proceed raise factual issues on which we have clear evidence to disprove the Estates allegations,” says the foundations lawyer, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel. “This is yet another major leap forward toward protecting Indianas legacy and shutting down the gross mismanagement of the Estate.”

The decision made yesterday follows Read More – Source