World famous artist earned millions selling works he falsely claimed were created by him
SEATTLE, WA, USA, June 6, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — After confidentially settling several similar claims, defense lawyers for the Chihuly Studio admitted a lawsuit claiming that the Studio has earned millions over the past 15 years selling works claimed to have been created by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly that were actually created primarily or entirely by others.
The lawsuit by Michael Moi of Washington is yet another claim by an unknown Chihuly stand-in. Contrary to its prior practice of confidentially settling such claims for substantial sums, however, this time the Studio responded with a transparent attempt to manipulate the media, said Moi’s attorneys, Anne Bremner and Ted Buck of Seattle, who have won settlements for the other covert Chihuly artists.
“For many years, Mr. Moi collaborated with other unrecognized artists at the Studio creating original paintings and expecting that he would receive a proper accounting and acknowledgment for his contributions – promises Dale Chihuly himself made to Moi,” Bremner says.
Bremner refutes the Studio’s allegations that her client attempted to extort the famed painter and glass artist. “After recently discovering that Mr. Chihuly had no intention of honoring their long-agreed to arrangement, Mr. Moi is simply seeking what he was promised and what he is due,” Bremner says. “We merely presented the Studio a demand on Mr. Moi’s behalf providing irrefutable facts establishing Moi’s right to redress and detailing more than a decade of blatant artistic misrepresentation by the Studio. Providing a pre-litigation demand is routine, and the Studio’s claim is wholly unfounded.”
Mr. Moi’s complaint was initially inaccessible to the public and media. However, in an apparent attempt to distract public attention from Moi’s claims, the Chihuly team fed the Associated Press a story about Chihuly’s struggles with bipolar disorder. On June 2nd, the same day the AP distributed the story, the Studio filed the case in federal court, making the previously unfiled complaint accessible to the public. The Studio simultaneously issued a press release disputing the claims and suggesting they amounted to “opportunism and exploitation."
“Once the Studio was informed that Dale and Leslie Chihuly and others would be deposed and legally bound to respond to questions under oath about Mr. Moi's claim, they took preemptive action, portraying Dale as mentally vulnerable,” Bremner said.
“This is a simple demand for compensation and recognition long promised and long overdue.” Bremner added. “Rather than address the merits of my client's claim they went to the media with a carefully planned response that deliberately misconstrued the true nature of the claim. However, my client was somewhat heartened by Leslie Chihuly's stated intention to finally shine a ‘bright light’ on the truth.”
“The truth,” adds Bremner, “is that Chihuly Studio has reaped huge financial gain by intentionally and deliberately misleading the public while depriving the actual artists of recognition and, in Mr. Moi’s case, even pay. They have maintained this façade for over a decade with an army of lawyers and intimidating threats of retribution against anyone who dared to speak the truth.”
“To be clear, this matter has nothing to do with Dale Chihuly's mental health,” Bremner says. “Chihuly's struggle with bipolar disorder has long been public knowledge and is completely irrelevant. The Chihulys' accusation that Mr. Moi is trying to extort them by threatening to make confidential medical documents public is simply not true. Their attempt to manipulate the truth with press releases and planted articles of tearful accounts of their valiant struggles rings false. My client is entitled to a fair and complete accounting for his years of creative contributions and all rights legally due to him under the Visual Artists Rights Act and co-authorship under copyright law.”
Bremner also notes that the claim is just a fraction of the tens of millions the Studio and the Chihulys have reaped from the misrepresented artwork and the $100+ million the Studio holds in inventory.
Both Dale and Leslie Chihuly asserted in recent New York Times articles and other publications that Chihuly draws and paints every day in his studio and is still completely involved in the creative process. While the Studio has acknowledged that Chihuly’s glass art is created by others, it has long claimed that the painting and drawings were solely his creation and the inspiration for his glass art. Contrary to those earlier assertions, however, in the AP article Chihuly admitted that six months might go by without him going to his studio. Chihuly, 75, no longer has the physical ability to create the vast quantity of supposedly original Chihuly paintings and drawings the Studio has spun out over the past decade.
“The truth is the Studio has unequivocally represented that these works were the sole effort of Dale Chihuly for years; in reality the great majority of the works were conceived and painted by others, and at most Chihuly merely signed them,” Bremner said. “Mrs. Chihuly and the Studio simply utilize surrogates to paint, then pass the pieces off to the art world as Dale’s own work. Michael Moi was one of those painters.”
“The problem is that the galleries were plainly given a fraudulent narrative of Chihuly’s involvement in the process,” Bremner said. “They sold these pieces to unsuspecting collectors for tens of thousands of dollars on false premises and in violation of consumer protection legislation. Chihuly now claims he's always been transparent in his use of assistants in both glass and the drawing process. Look at his previous publications and ask his galleries what they were told by the Studio, though; their current claim is blatantly false.”
The Studio previously settled claims over works created by others that have been widely sold and exhibited around the world in museums, galleries, exhibitions, private collections and local institutions such as Museum of Glass and Chihuly's own museum at Seattle Center. All those works were solely attributed to Chihuly.
“They may attempt to diminish Mr. Moi by calling him a lowly handyman," says Bremner of the Chihulys, "but the fact remains Mr. Moi acted in good faith. He kept up his end of the bargain."
Frey Buck, P.S.
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Source: EIN Presswire