Getty Images Entangled in Leibovitz Financial Trouble

Posted on 8/3/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Annie Leibovitz’s debt crisis has reached a crescendo. Multiple media outlets have reported that the celebrity photographer’s last-hope lender, Art Capital Group, has sued Leibovitz for breach of contract. Art Capital also asked the courts to interfere in the photographer’s relationship with Getty Images, asserting that Leibovitz has assigned sole representation rights to the art broker as part of the loan agreement.

Leibovitz’s financial troubles have been making headlines since last year, when a wardrobe stylist and a lighting company filed separate—and still pending—lawsuits that alleged close to a million dollars in unpaid photoshoot-related bills. Using her life’s work and two homes as collateral in a deal akin to a pawn-shop transaction, Leibovitz borrowed $22 million from Art Capital Group, later upping the amount to $24 million. (Gawker has a wealth of additional information on the artist’s troubles.)

Filed last week, Art Capital’s lawsuit claims that Leibovitz has ignored invoices on the loan and has impeded the financing company’s attempts to begin marketing the art and property she used as security. Photo District News reports that Leibovitz denies all such allegations.

Prior to its current action against Leibovitz, Art Capital also sought judicial intervention against Getty Images, which represents the celebrity photographer through its assignment division.

In March, the Seattle image company made an ambiguous announcement that said Leibovitz became part of Getty’s Orchard Represents under a multi-assignment collaboration. No additional details were made available, and there have been no reports of this collaboration bearing fruit.

The New York Times reports that a lawsuit filed by Art Capital against Getty Images in April claims that at the time of Getty’s representation announcement, the two companies were discussing a sale of Leibovitz’s archive, which Art Capital was preemptively shopping around under the terms of its loan agreement with the photographer. Art Capital claims it offered Getty a chance to hire Liebovitz for assignment work during these talks, and that Getty went directly to the photographer to negotiate a separate deal, valued at $1.1 million for eight shoots over two years.

Art Capital’s request for a preliminary injunction against the Getty/Liebovitz contract was denied on Friday. According to The Times, the judge dismissed parts of the lawsuit, but ruled that other issues would be decided later.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • Peter Dazeley Posted Aug 5, 2009

    Where has all the money gone?

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