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Ossip Zadkine: Who Owns the Sculptor’s Estate?

Ossip Zadkine was a Russian Jewish artist that lived and worked in France until his death in 1967. Over 40 years later, a legal battle ensues over the rights to his estate.

Zadkine had a wife, Valentine Prax, and she inherited the estate upon the artist’s death. Zadkine also had a son, Nicolas Hasle, but he has inherited nothing.

When Prax died in the 1980s, French courts recognized Hasle as Zadkine’s son. However, the legislation did not entitle Hasle to be a beneficiary, because he was born outside of marriage. Instead, the City of Paris was named as the estate beneficiary.

Now, Hasle is waging a legal campaign to claim rights in the estate. The artist’s estate includes the copyright to a number of important works, primarily sculptures. French copyright law entails proprietary (economic) rights and moral rights. The transfer and succession of moral rights involves a number of complexities. Now that Hasle has made his case to be considered rightful heir of the estate, a court of appeal in Paris has ruled that the city council must make its case.

The City of Paris has until Tuesday, 5th of April to justify its claim to be sole heir of Zadkine’s estate.

Read the article at The Art Newspaper