Artist Elizabeth Peyton In Appropriation Row With Sex Pistols’ Photographer

The well known ‘Rock’ photographer Dennis Morris has accused artist Elizabeth Peyton of copyright infringement. The case centres around a painting  removed from a Sotheby’s auction last week.

Peyton’s John Lydon, Destroyed (1994), was pulled after legal action was threatened over the use of an image of the Sex Pistols singer John Lydon. The original shot was snapped in 1977 backstage at an early gig. In 2014 Morris claimed that several works by the painter, depicting Sex Pistols band members Sid Vicious and John Lydon infringed his copyright. 

Dennis Morris, began his career as a teenager snapping Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols. He went on to become a seminal documenter of the period. His work is in public and private collections including English Heritage. His Growing Up Black a collection of  photographs from the Black community in Hackney is part of the permanent collection of the Hackney Museum.

Born in Connecticut in 1965, Peyton studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she lives and works. Executed in oil paint, watercolour, ink or pencil, her small but intense portraits may be inspired by photographs in the media, but often and increasingly they are drawn from life.

Sotheby’s says the painting “was withdrawn at the request of the consigner”.


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