Luxembourgish Artist Hires Lawyer after Accusations of Plagiarism

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The two works that others say Jeff Dieschburg plagiarized were also shown at an exhibition in Luxembourg in March.

Photo credit: Gabrielle Antar

The Luxembourgish artist at the center of a plagiarism scandal has hired a prominent lawyer to defend him against accusations that he “swindled” works that won him a €1,500 prize in a local art competition.

Jeff Dieschburg was “by far the most talented artist in the country,” said Gaston Vogel, a veteran lawyer who was acquitted last year of hate speech after writing a letter to a newspaper about foreigners asking for money.

“Because he’s alone. He’s only 22 and everyone is attacking him,” Vogel said, when asked why Dieschburg had hired a lawyer at a time when there was no sign his accusers had done the same.

American photographer Jingna Zhang this week accused Dieschburg of “ripping off” her work, saying one of her award-winning oil paintings is based on a photo she took for the cover of the Vietnam version of Harper’s Bazaar in 2017.

Jingna Zhang posted this image on Instagram, with Dieschburg's work on the left and hers on the right.

Jingna Zhang posted this image on Instagram, with Dieschburg’s work on the left and hers on the right.

Jingna Zhang

Late on Thursday, the Biennale of Contemporary Art jury said it would hire an expert to help it understand the situation and would not comment further on the matter before it had a full report on it.

A second American photographer, Bekka Björke, also noted an extremely close resemblance between one of her photos and a Dieschburg work.

“I think that the homage and reference to other artists is very good, and knowing that you have inspired someone is a fantastic feeling, but I don’t think that this situation [is] an example of that,” Björke told the Luxembourg timetables.

Neither artist appears to have taken legal action so far, but Zhang has taken to social media to express his outrage, sharing an image showing Dieschburg’s work still on display, priced at €6,500, expressing his disbelief. that the Luxembourgish artist was seeking legal help.

the Luxembourg timetables He was unable to reach Dieschburg, who did not respond to email and messaging requests for comment.

But Zhang said Dieschburg had denied the allegations in an email to him. “As a figurative painter, I obviously need reference material, whether it’s a model, a painting, or photographs,” he said in the email. “I solemnly insist that it was never my intention to infringe any copyright,” he said.

the Luxembourg timetables could not independently verify the authenticity of the Dieschburg email shared by Zhang.

One member of the jury, a Luxembourgish artist who calls himself Sumo, said Thursday that he regretted failing due diligence and that it was a lesson for him to improve such procedures in the future.

“Dieschburg is young and I don’t think the kid has bad intentions,” Sumo said, adding that spotting plagiarism is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

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