Contract law | Regional court regarding repair of a sculpture

Contract law | Regional court regarding repair of a sculpture

Contract law | In a judgement (case no. 22 O 25/18), the Düsseldorf Regional Court ruled that an art lover is entitled to compensation for the repair costs of €17,038 against the defendant gallery due to damage to his sculpture.

In the specific case, the plaintiff had purchased the art object ‘Balloon Venus Jeff Koons’ from the defendant art gallery in January 2015, including a specially manufactured transport box and display case, for a purchase price of €45,000. The artwork is a ‘multiple’ from a series of 650 copies from 2013, which was produced by the company New Art Editions in The Hague in collaboration with the artist Jeff Koons and published by Moët & Chandon. The art object is a plastic sculpture consisting of two parts, which is mounted on a stele and closed by a Plexiglas display case. In 2017, the plaintiff commissioned the defendant gallery to transport the goods from the Frankfurt am Main area to Düsseldorf. The Managing Director collected the sculpture from the plaintiff and confirmed that the artwork, including the transport box and display case, was in ‘proper and perfect’ condition. After transport, the artwork showed scratches or colour abrasion on the base, resulting in the sculpture with its high-gloss finish appearing ‘’matted‘’. In addition, the transport ratio showed deposits and signs of corrosion.

The Düsseldorf Regional Court did not awarded to the plaintiff the € 50,000 he had requested, but only damages in the amount of € 17,038. Consequently, the defendant gallery was liable for damages, as it had not proven that the sculpture already had the damages it has today when it was collected. However, the plaintiff was only entitled to claim repair costs totalling €17,038, as an expert opinion had shown that the artwork had not suffered a total technical loss and could be repaired. Moreover, there was no loss of market value after the repair.

Reference source: Press office of the Düsseldorf Regional Court, press release no. 19/2021 of 13 December 2021


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