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Helmut Newton's Widow Sues Art Dealers for Hawking 'Private' Burlesque Prints on eBay

How fitting, that in 1983, when Helmut Newton printed 75 copies of an exclusive burlesque/celebrity photo suite, he named the thing "Private Property Collection."

The title packs a punch in an L.A. lawsuit filed yesterday by June Browne Newton. The photographer's Australian widow is apparently alive and kickin' at the ripe age of 88 -- enough to sue three art dealers who have been sleezing the artist's work around via typo-ridden eBay auctions [Courthouse News Service].

Here are a couple of the photos (don't sue us, pretty please), which June claims fall under the Copyright Act of 1976:

"Shoe"
"Shoe"

The lawsuit claims Newton enlisted the Los Angeles dealers to help publicize the work back in the '80s, but that the agreement has since expired, and Norman Solomon, Art & Artifact and Celebrity Vault no longer have the right to handle the black-and-white classics.

To add insult to copyright infringement, the eBay posts are trashy, glam and poorly written. One example, reprinted in the legal documents:

Helmut Newton's Widow Sues Art Dealers for Hawking 'Private' Burlesque Prints on eBay

Newton died at 84 in the driveway of his West Hollywood hotel residence in 1994 -- the celeb-heavy Chateau Marmont, on Sunset Boulevard -- when he lost control of his vehicle, possibly due to a heart attack. All rights to his controversial legacy of nudes and portraits went to June.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]