Art Studio Assistant Claims She is a Co-Author

Artist Antonio de Felipe’s studio assistant, Rumiko Negishi, has filed a lawsuit against the artist. Negishi claims she painted 221 of his signed works from scratch, based on Felipe’s sketches. According to Artnet, Negishi worked in Felipe’s studio for ten years as a painter. The lawsuit insists Felipe “admits the truthful facts regarding the authorship of the paintings.” Negishi is demanding to be considered author or at least co-author of the works.

El Español has published a response from Felipe in which he states Negishi “has intervened in some areas of my paintings, but the intellectual authorship of the works is mine. Fumiko has not contributed anything to them,” De Felipe said. He added: she is merely “a studio assistant, like all artists have.” Should the lawsuit prevail, many artists with studio assistants will need to reconsider their procedures for maintaining sole authorship.