Statement on Unauthorized Use of Joan Mitchell Artworks in Louis Vuitton Ad Campaign

Updated with settlement notice, September 20, 2023

On February 21, 2023, the Joan Mitchell Foundation (JMF) sent a cease and desist letter to Louis Vuitton Malletier demanding that the company immediately withdraw its print and digital advertising campaign that illegally reproduces and uses at least three works by artist Joan Mitchell for the promotion of its commercial goods.

In late 2022, Louis Vuitton approached JMF to request permission to use works by Mitchell in an upcoming advertising campaign. JMF denied this request in writing in accordance with its longstanding policy that images of the artist’s work be used only for educational purposes. JMF has never licensed the artist’s works for use in commercial campaigns or for the promotion of other goods or services. Louis Vuitton subsequently reiterated the request which was denied several times.

Nonetheless, Louis Vuitton has launched its campaign and at least three works by Mitchell have been used without authorization. The works of which we are currently aware are "La Grande Vallée XIV (For A Little While)" (1983); "Quatuor II for Betsy Jolas" (1976); and "Edrita Fried" (1981). All three works are currently on view at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. By permitting these works to be photographed for this purpose and in this manner, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is in violation of its agreement with JMF.

As an artist-endowed foundation dedicated to stewarding Mitchell’s work and legacy, JMF carefully manages how images of the artist’s work are used in accordance with its mission. It is a grave disappointment to JMF that Louis Vuitton has such disregard for the rights of an artist and would exploit her work for financial gain.

If Louis Vuitton does not promptly halt this campaign and cease the illegal use of Mitchell’s artworks, JMF will promptly take further legal action to address this matter.

Update on Settlement, September 20, 2023:
The Joan Mitchell Foundation, along with the other undivided co-owners of the rights, and Louis Vuitton Malletier, announce that they have reached an amicable settlement of the dispute that arose from the unauthorized reproduction of works by the artist Joan Mitchell in an advertising campaign.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation will use the funds collected to support non-profit organizations that work to promote the rights of artists.

Download this statement in French (PDF)

Please direct press inquiries to:
Sascha Freudenheim
PAVE Communications & Consulting
[email protected]

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