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Gordon's Dry Gin ad lands artist Jeff Koons with law suit

Published:  15 December, 2015

Controversial US pop artist Jeff Koons is being sued for copyright violation by a New York photographer.

The photographer, Mitchel Gray, is alleging that Koons reproduced a photograph he had taken for a 1986 Gordon's Dry Gin campaign without his permission.

The photograph shows a man sitting beside a woman painting on a beach with an easel.

Gray claims in his lawsuit that the photo appears as a Koons' painting I Could Go For Something Gordon's, "nearly unchanged and in its entirety".

An image of Koon's painting is available to view on his website.

It is part of series of paintings called Luxury & Degradation, which appear to replicate a range of drinks adverts from the period.

Gray is simultaneously launching an action against Phillips Auctioneers, which sold a print of the Koons work for just over $2 million in 2008.

Gray is suing now because he was only made aware of Koons' painting earlier this year.

Koons lost a similar copyright case in 1992 when he created a sculpture based on a photograph by Art Rogers which depicted a man and a woman holding armfuls of puppies.

Earlier this year, a Belgian court also decided in the photographer's favour in a similar dispute.

Photographer Katrijn van Giel had sued painter Luc Tuymans for reproducing a Van Giel photograph of Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker.

The court dismissed Tuymans' argument that his work had "creatively transformed" the original image, and ordered him to pay £365,000.

Koons is best known for his Balloon Dog sculptures, one of which sold at auction for $58.4 million in 2013.