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Fine Arts: Theft & Appropriation

Use this Libguide to investigate various facets of Fine Arts and Graphic Arts.

Art Theft

String of Puppies, 1988, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo by Amaury Laporte, via Flickr.  Installation view of Jeff Koons.



In Koons’s wooden sculpture String of Puppies, two people sit on a park bench, holding a row of bright blue puppies.  Koons based these sculptures on photographs and objects that he found and transformed. In the case of String of Puppies, the source material was a photograph by Art Rogers, which was used on greeting cards.  Art Rogers sued Koons and won successfully for copyright violation.



National Geographic


What is Appropriation?

To "appropriate" is to take possession of something. Appropriation artists deliberately copy images to take possession of them in their art. They are not stealing or plagiarizing, nor are they passing off these images as their very own. This artistic approach does stir up controversy because some people view appropriation as unoriginal or theft. This is why it's important to understand why artists appropriate the artwork of others.



Nazi-Era Provenance

London’s The Guardian reports: