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Artist’s Estate Demands Nude Photos Be Removed

Bigstock-Last-Will-and-Testament-44111440Recently the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat demanded that nude photographs of the artist be taken off of a website. However, that might not have been what the artist would have wanted.

Paige Powell, the ex-girlfriend of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, took several photographs of the artist lying on the bed nude and smiling at the camera. The photographs were shown at a 2014 exhibition and from there made their way online to several art websites.

One of those websites, Animal, posted the images in 2014.

The attorney for the artist's estate, however, recently sent a letter to the website demanding that the images be removed as they are disparaging to the artist. Powell claims that Basquiat was proud of his body and would want the photographs to be seen. Page Six reported this story in "Estate fighting release of Basquiat's nude photos."

It is impossible to know whether Powell is correct that Basquiat would have wanted the nude pictures to be seen. If so, this case is an illustration that there is often a disconnect between what a person would have wanted and what those running the estate want.

For this reason, it is very important when creating an estate plan that you be as specific as possible about any requests and that you pick estate administrators and trustees who will likely view things as you would have. This is especially true for artists who wish to have their works looked after in specific ways.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you and consider all of these issues.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Page Six (October 4, 2015) "Estate fighting release of Basquiat's nude photos."

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