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Jun 21, 2019

Judge Dismisses Claim Against Chihuly, Affirming Artist’s Authorship

SEATTLE – June 21, 2019 – U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik has dismissed a case filed against artist Dale Chihuly in which a former contractor, Michael Moi, claimed he was a joint creator of Dale Chihuly’s paintings over a 15-year period, from 1999 to 2014.

In his 12-page order, Judge Lasnik wrote that Mr. Moi “failed to show that he authored or owns any of the paintings at issue,” and that “Plaintiff’s claim that the paintings are joint works therefore fails as a matter of law.”  

The judge’s ruling strongly supports what Chihuly Studio has said for years, said Harry H. Schneider, Jr., attorney for Chihuly.

“The District Court found that, while Chihuly uses assistants, Dale Chihuly is the sole creator of his art because under copyright law, Dale possessed and exercised control over the creative process,” Schneider said. “It was Dale – and only Dale – who oversaw the creation of the work and controlled the final art. He is the sole visionary behind his work.“

Mr. Moi filed his lawsuit in June 2017 in Seattle. Judge Lasnik issued his ruling dismissing all claims one day after the parties presented their oral arguments. 

Looking Forward

Following the ruling, Leslie Chihuly, President and CEO of Chihuly, Inc., said that the Studio has moved beyond this legal distraction and is focused on the Studio’s many exciting art projects that are under way around the world.

“This spring Dale and I went to the opening of his exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, where he created 32 artworks for the glasshouses, galleries and open spaces there. We are focused on the new audiences who we hope will find beauty, inspiration and joy through art,” Leslie Chihuly said. “Dale’s creativity and productivity at age 77 inspires us all, and we are thrilled about what’s ahead.

“We thank the great people who have worked at Chihuly Studio over the years, and the many friends and supporters who have stood by us through this legal ordeal. It has been difficult. We are more than ready to move forward.”

Dale Chihuly is known around the world for revolutionizing the creation of glass art and the way people interact with art installations. His work in glass, drawing and sculpture abounds across nations, cultures and settings. More than 200 museums feature his art in their permanent collections. 
Dale is also well known for his collaborative approach to art, pioneering the adoption of the studio glass movement in the United States. 

To learn more about Dale’s paintings, see this video, and this.

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