A fellow artist sent me the Jan. 22 Daily Herald article titled ďLombard trustee touches up incomplete mural of historic sites.Ē
I recognized the painting as one done by Vern Milem, a distinguished Lombard artist and former dean of the Chicago Academy of Finer Arts and former president of the Chicago Artistís Guild. He taught various art classes in the surrounding communities over the years and was well-known as ďMr. Vern.Ē Many of his murals are displayed throughout the community. The mural is obviously not a copy since in 1983 I donít think it was common to copy artwork that size.
From the view of a professional artist I was shocked to read nothing of Ms. Fitzpatrickís legal obligation to obtain written permission from the artistís heirs before altering his work.
All major art schools teach us that our work is protected by copyright law even 70 years after we die. Artist organizations such as the Graphic Artists Guild and the National Cartoonists Society have fought on behalf of artistsí rights of ownership of their artwork. This applies to both professional and amateur artists.
For the village to rehang Vernís mural that has been altered by Ms. Fitzpatrick is inasmuch endorsing her disregard for the copyright protection that we who make our living in the art world depend upon.
I think Ms. Fitzpatrick owes both Vernís family and artists everywhere an apology and an explanation.
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