A federal judge is hearing a Utah artist's claim of copyright infringement against a sculptor whose work resembles his painting of George Washington praying at Valley Forge.
Arnold Friberg's U.S. District Court lawsuit targets Jonathan Bronson, a Pleasant Grove sculptor who began marketing his bronze Washington statuettes in 1996.Friberg's epic oil painting, "The Prayer at Valley Forge," depicts the Revolutionary War general bowed on one knee, next to his favorite white horse.
Bronson concedes his first sculptures, made in 1996, were copies, but he insists he had Friberg's blessing to create them. Later sculptures, cast in 1997, were his own work, Bronson insists.
Friberg disputes both accounts in the suit he filed last year naming Bronson and three other men.
Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge David Sam heard witnesses compare two prints of the painting with five assembled sculptures, along with incomplete castings of Bronson's work.
Bronson contends his sculpture differs from the painting in a number of ways.
If Sam determines there has been copyright infringement, a second trial would be ordered to determine damages.