Prince/Cariou Case Settled


A painting from Richard Prince’s Canal Zone seriesA painting from Richard Prince’s Canal Zone series

The New York Times reported that the artist Richard Prince has settled with the French photographer Patrick Cariou, who had accused him of violating his copyright protections. 

Prince’s series of 2008 Canal Zone paintings incorporated photographs from Cariou's 2000 book Yes, Rasta. In 2009, Cariou brought a copyright infringement suit against Prince, Gagosian, and the publisher of the show’s catalogue, Rizzoli. In 2011, a US District judge ruled against Prince, but that decision was largely overturned in 2013.  The judge in that decision ruled that five paintings had to be re-evaluated.

The Warhol Foundation and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation both filed briefs on behalf of Prince, arguing, according to a report in Art in America, that “the intellectual content and aesthetic meaning of works of art are not always visible to the naked eye without art-historical context.” 

The terms of the settlement concerning those five works were not disclosed, but none of the paintings will be destroyed, an option that the federal judge in 2011 made available to Cariou.