Copyright Infringement

LOVE Artist’s Estate Settles Lawsuit with Copyright Owner

The estate of pop artist Robert Indiana and Morgan Art Foundation have reached a settlement that lets the organization continue a longstanding tradition of promoting and preserving his work. The foundation is the copyright holder for the artist’s iconic 1960s “LOVE” series, which has been made into sculptures worldwide and was even celebrated on a U.S. postage stamp.  

Plans for Museum to Honor Indiana’s Art

Morgan Art Foundation, based in New York, plans to work with the Star of Hope Foundation, which is interested in transforming the artist’s island home into a museum that honors his work. While this museum is built, the organizations will display Indiana’s artwork at nationwide venues.

Forgery Accusations and Litigation

Larry Sterrs, chair of the Star of Hope Foundation, regrets that their efforts have been overshadowed by litigation, and estimates that the museum could take years to complete. Indiana’s estate, valued at $80 million, has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Morgan Art Foundation, which was filed the day before the artist’s death in 2018.

In the suit, it was alleged that Indiana’s caretaker and art publisher exploited the artist and produced forgeries of his work—which the two denied. This led to claims and counter claims.

Unresolved Lawsuits

With the agreement in place, Morgan has dropped the suit against Indiana’s caretaker and estate, but not the art publisher. Another unresolved issue is a lawsuit brought by the state of Maine (where Indiana resided), claiming the estate paid excessive litigation fees.

Although Indiana created art throughout his life, he is best known for his stylistic LOVE design, with a tilted “O.” It is the mission of the foundations to display his art in a museum to be designed at his former residence, a Victorian-style building on Vinalhaven Island, off the coast of Rockland, Maine. Other properties of the artist would be used for art education and artist-in-residence programs.

ABC News – June 11, 2021 – David Sharp, Associated Press

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