Art market news
Art market news
Art market news

Sex Pistols photographer accuses artist Elizabeth Peyton of copyright infringement

Dennis Morris is considering legal action over painting removed from Sotheby’s day sale last week

by Anny Shaw  |  18 February 2016
Sex Pistols photographer accuses artist Elizabeth Peyton of copyright infringement
Elizabeth Peyton's John Lydon, Destroyed (1994), was pulled from Sotheby's day sale on 11 February
The photographer Dennis Morris, who rose to fame as a teenager shooting Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols, claims a painting by Elizabeth Peyton infringes his copyrighted photograph of punk singer John Lydon from 1977. According to a spokesman for his public relations agency, Morris is considering taking legal action over the painting, John Lydon, Destroyed (1994), which was removed from Sotheby’s contemporary art day sale on 11 February.

Sotheby’s says the painting “was withdrawn at the request of the consigner”. Gladstone Gallery and Sadie Coles, who represent Peyton, could not be reached for comment.

Morris filed an earlier complaint against Peyton in a Californian court in 2014, claiming that at least three works by the painter depicting Sex Pistols band members Sid Vicious and John Lydon infringed his copyright. Some of Morris’s photographs of Vicious and Lydon were published in the 1991 book, Never Mind the B*ll*cks: A Photographic Record of the Sex Pistols Tour.

Peyton denied all allegations, claiming fair use, among other defences. The case was settled out of court last year, with both parties agreeing to pay its own costs.

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