Götz Valien sues the Estate Martin Kippenberger for acknowledgement of co-authorship of the “Paris Bar” paintings

The law firm Raue has filed an action on behalf of the Berlin-based artist Götz Valien before the Copyright Chamber of the Regional Court of Munich against the Martin Kippenberger Estate, which manages the copyright estate of Martin Kippenberger and publishes the artist’s catalog raisonné. The action is directed at prohibiting the estate from any exploitation of the so-called “Paris Bar” paintings without naming Götz Valien as co-author.

The paintings “Paris Bar (Version 1)” and “Paris Bar (Version 2)” have become known worldwide as works by Martin Kippenberger, who died in 1997, and have been auctioned for millions. They show the interior view of the famous Berlin restaurant “Paris Bar”, which is still an institution as a hot spot of the art and film scene.

In fact, it was not Kippenberger but Götz Valien who had independently painted and signed the pictures in 1992 and 1993 on behalf of the Werner-Werbung company and the owners of the Paris Bar. Valien only learned 17 years later that the commission for the paintings went back to the artist Martin Kippenberger, when the painting “Paris Bar (Version 1)” was auctioned at Christie’s for 2,281,250 British pounds and thus attracted worldwide attention.

To this day, Götz Valien is fighting for recognition of his co-authorship. Most recently, the estate had its lawyer state that Götz Valien had “made no contribution to the creation of Martin Kippenberger’s (sic! ) painting that could give him the role of co-author.

Peter Raue and Felix Stang, who are litigating on behalf of Götz Valien: “Cases like that of Götz Valien or Daniel Druet, who is suing Maurizio Cattelan, show how widespread the bad habit is among conceptual artists of refusing to recognize the co-authorship of the actual creators of their works. Although the legal situation is clear: Section 13 UrhG grants authors an essentially indispensable right to recognition of authorship. This right also applies to co-authorship.”

Prof. Dr. Peter Raue and Dr. Felix Stang are partners at RAUE, where they are responsible, among other things, for the practice area of art law. Both are lecturers at the Free University of Berlin and teach copyright law. Best Lawyers® and Handelsblatt listed both of them, along with Dr. Mareile Büscher and Dr. Anna-Sophie Hollenders, in their latest edition of “Germany’s Best Lawyers® 2022” in the category of art law, which includes a total of 15 lawyers. Prof. Dr. Peter Raue was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers® 2023 in this section.

(4 July 2022)