Artist wins case against Louis Vuitton

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Danish artist Nadia Plesner, a student at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, has won a lawsuit filed against her by internationally recognised fashion house, Louis Vuitton. 

Plesner came under fire for using an impression of the Louis Vuitton brand in her art both on her website and in exhibitions without the company’s permission.

Most significantly, she used the image in her painting Darfurnica, based on Picasso’s Guernica, in which she draws attention to humanitarian atrocities in Darfur. Within the painting, an image of the iconic starving African child is seen carrying a Louis Vuitton bag on his arm. According to Plesner, this is meant to highlight the many media reports about “meaningless celebrities.”

The court in The Hague ruled Wednesday that the importance of freedom of expression in Plesner's art outweighed the importance of Louis Vuitton’s protection of privacy. Plesner’s use of their design was ruled functional and proportional by the court.

Earlier, Plesner was faced with a fine of 5,000 euors payable to Louis Vuitton for each day the bag’s image had been displayed. The fashion label was seeking to increase the penalty to 200,000 euros. 

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