The Globe and Mail tells this strange story of a couple who have trademarked the name of Canadian art movement, Painters 11:
Two Toronto art dealers have successfully registered as their trademarks the names of a famous group of Toronto painters from the 1950s and are threatening to sue what they deem “any illegal commercial activity” associated with the trademarks. [ . . . ]
However, John Shearer disagreed in an interview yesterday. “I don’t think it’s in the public domain. If you were to go out on the sidewalk in front of The Globe and Mail and stop 100 people and ask who the Painters Eleven are, I don’t think you’ll get one person that will tell you. The Group of Seven, something like that, maybe, that’s possible …” he said, but not Town and company.
The value of works by artists associated with Painters Eleven has grown in recent years. Last November, Heffel Fine Art Auction House sold, in Toronto, a large Ronald canvas called Drumbeat for $163,800 including buyer’s premium – an auction record for the artist who died at 78 in 1998. (All Painters Eleven artists are now deceased. The others were Oscar Cahén, Jock Macdonald, Kazuo Nakamura, Alexandra Luke, Thomas Hodgson, Hortense Gordon, Ray Mead and Walt Yarwood.) [ . . . ]
It’s her husband’s contention that “a lot of interest in the [Painters Eleven] artists, their history, was lost” after the association disbanded. Over the years, “we’ve spent a lot of money developing websites and marketing their work. To protect that, that’s why we have a trademark.” Without going into detail, he argued: “There’s a lot of [Painters Eleven] fakes on the market; there’s a lot of people promoting artists, saying they belong to the group and they don’t – and there’s a lot of very odd pricing going on.”
Trademarking ‘Painters 11′ raises ire of many in art market (Globe and Mail)