The sad news of Robert Rauschenberg's death this week also means the end of one of the two lawsuits he recently filed over the sale of objects pulled from his trash. The Southwest Florida News-Press's Mary Wozniak reports:
"Rauschenberg's death will nullify the federal lawsuit he filed against Naples artist Robert Fontaine under the Visual Artists Rights Act, said Lawrence H. Kolin of Orlando, Rauschenberg's attorney in the case. ... Kolin said that he has asked Yale T. Freeman, Fontaine's attorney, to consent to dismissal of the case. But Kolin likely will pursue a state lawsuit Rauschenberg filed in the same case, which Kolin amended shortly before Rauschenberg's death. The state lawsuit initially asked only for fact-finding, but now alleges that Fontaine and the HW Gallery of Naples made a deliberate effort to trade on Rauschenberg's fame and creative work by offering discarded copies of Rauschenberg's copyrighted photographs as if they were completed works authorized and signed by the artist."
Rights under VARA last only for the artist's lifetime.