Jeff Koons is a well known American artist who reproduces common objects as giant stainless steel sculptures with mirror finishes. His sculptures are well-known, and are usually sold for millions of dollars.
Yesterday, Jeff Koons sold a sculpture of Popeye to Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino owner, for $28.2 million. However, Cartoon Brew noted that the sculpture was an exact replica of a Dark Horse figurine released in 2002. Cartoon Brew previously noted that the sculpture was also photographed and replicated in a 2008 Koon painting called "Triple Popeye".
Cartoon Brew has placed a photo of the sculpture next to a photo of the Dark Horse figurine. Here it is below:
And here's the Triple Popeye picture he previously painted.
What's more, the sculpture was apperantly completed without the consent of King Features, which owns the rights to Popeye. While Popeye cartoons fall under the public domain, Cartoon Brew notes that the Dark Horse figurine was an original creation, and that fair use doesn't necessarily protect artists who precisely replicates another person's work for commercial use. It should be noted that this isn't the first time that Koons has sculpted Popeye and other supporting characters. He also has constructed several inflatable bronze Hulk sculptures.
If a court determines that Koons plagarized Dark Horse's work, we hope that both the publisher and King Features are fairly compensated. We'll keep you updated if any further action is taken.