Château des Réaux art exhibition competition

We were contacted by Nadia Ovchinnikova on 3rd March 2008 with respect to posting their exhibition competition details on Artists UK DotNet under our Opportunties section. The exhibition competition is being run by Mr. Evgeny Yukhnytsya, the owner of Castle Reaux, who is apparently a well-known poet from the Ukraine (although a Google search on Yukhnytsya gives nothing on him that was not written by his own staff).

We have recently received emails from an artist’s agent in Florida, USA and artists in Europe concerned about the legitimacy of this offer. We are currently discussing the issues with Nadia Ovchinnikova at Castle Reaux with a view to clarifying the terms of their offer and the auditing of the competition. If you are an artist who has submitted a painting to Château des Réaux we would like to hear from you, especially if you are based in the UK. Whether your feedback is positive or negative please leave a comment here.  Even if you have not submitted work then you can still leave your comments here but please mention that you have not submitted work.

33 Comments

  • S.Seshadri

    I have received an invitation from Ms Nadia Ovchinnikova today(9th April2008) for participitating in the said exhibition.
    I am an Indian and live in Mumbai.
    Kindly advise me on the situation.
    Thank you.
    best regards
    S.Seshadri

  • Please check back here regularly as we intend to post information as we have it.

  • The advert for the Chateau des Reaux competition appeared in one of our papers – The Times – this week in Jhb. it is interesting that this advert is appearing in the non-European countries.
    It aroused my curiousity as a journalist and I am looking into it. Including how payment was made for the rather large advert.

  • Please keep us informed of your investigations by posting comments here. We are still waiting for more detailed information from the organiser regarding who the judges are and how the competition and award of prizes is to be audited. We consider the 305 Euros to be paid for full title transfer on an original oil painting of any decent quality to be extremely low. However, this is clear from their contract and each artist has to decide for themselves how they feel about this. Our main concerns are the lack of information available on Mr. Evgeny Yukhnytsya and the lack of information available on the competition.

  • Membres du Jury 1) Evgueny Yukhnytsya – Poète, Propriétaire du château des Réaux. 2) Conseil Général d’Indre et Loire, Région Centre, France (son représentant). 3) Yves Lemogne – Maire de Chouzé sur Loire, commune de la Vallée de la Loire, où le Château des Réaux est situé. France. 4) Francis Parent – Critique d’art, membre de l’AICA (Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art), Paris. 5) un Commissaire-priseur habilité (en pourparlers ; Mtre Pierre Cornette de St Cyr, Membre de la Maison de ventes Cornette de St Cyr, Paris).

    This is from an add on artconcours.com

  • Thank you for your comment Stefan. Strange since they were so adamant they wanted the names kept as a “surprise”. As you can see, as long as you read French, Francis Parent is the only one whose place on this jury is at all creditable. A websearch on him reveals he is a published art critic. It is surprising he is prepared to sit on a jury with people who do not appear to be of a similar professional standing.

  • Emanuela Terragnoli

    Goodmorning! Scusate se lascio il mio messaggio in lingua italiana. Stavo facendo delle ricerche riguardo questo invito dal Chateau des Réaux, che sembra sia stato esteso a tutti i pittori del mondo, quando ho trovato il vostro sito che parla appunto di questo misterioso concorso.
    Sono stata anch’io invitata e mi sono insospettita perchè : 1. non esiste un interlocutore diretto, i contatti avvengono in automatico esclusivamente attraverso il sito del Chateau. 2. all’invio della mia risposta comprendente una foto del dipinto con la descrizione. Ho ricevuto a distanza di una settimana esclusivamente un messaggio di registrazione di ricevimento, sempre in automatico. 3. Sempre nel sito del Chateau des Rèaux, nella sezione che richiede di lasciare la descrizione del dipinto ho trovato una serie di Diplomi d’onore prestampati che riportano il nome dell’artista e ridicole motivazioni “d’onore” che non sono altro che le frasi stesse di ringraziamento da parte dei pittori per l’invito ricevuto, oltretutto con la possibilità di stampa da parte degli artisti stessi.
    Ho pensato a questo punto ad una colossale beffa! Ed ho proseguito le mie ricerche cliccando in internet il nome di Francis Parent, nominato nel regolamento del concorso, quale membro della giuria. Ho inviato a questo Signore una mail chiedendo spiegazioni riguardo il punto 3. Ovviamente non ho ricevuto alcuna risposta. Senza contare che il cosiddetto poeta, proprietario del castello, Evgueny Yukhnytsya, non compare in nessun sito web, oltre a quello del castello; ne deduco che sia un emerito sconosciuto…. Si potrebbe contattare a questo punto il Sindaco del comune di Chouzé-sur-Loire per capire, intanto se lui, Sindaco, esiste davvero, e, in caso positivo se é al corrente di questa faccenda.
    Se avete ulteriori informazioni al riguardo, vi sarei molto grata, se me le poteste comunicare. Nel frattempo il mio modesto parere rimane quello di un grande scherzo di cattivo gusto! Molti cordiali saluti
    Emanuela Terragnoli, Verona, Italy

  • Artists UK

    Thank you Emanuela. I’m afraid Italian is not one of my languages even though I have visited Italy many times so I think it is I who should apologise. For other non-Italian speakers we have run Emanuela’s post through some translation software. As always with translation software the translation is pretty awful but it’ll give some idea what is being said –

    Sorry if I leave my message in Italian. I was doing research on this invitation from Chateau des Réaux, who seems to have been extended to all painters of the world, when I found your site that speaks precisely this mysterious contest.
    I was also invited and I declined because: 1. there is no direct contact, contacts are made automatically through the website of Chateau. 2. the sending of my answer includes a photo of the painting with the description. I received a distance of one week only a message of registration of receipt, again automatically. 3. Also at the site of Chateau des Rèaux, in the section that asks you to leave the description of the painting I found a number of diplomas of honour pre-bearing the name of the artist and ridiculous motivations “of honour” that are nothing more than phrases same thanksgiving by the painters for the invitation received, moreover, with the possibility of printing by the artists themselves.
    I thought at this point to a colossal joke! And I continued my research on the Internet by clicking the name of Francis Parent, appointed to the rules of the competition, as a member of the jury. I sent this to the Lord a mail asking explanations about the point 3. Obviously I have not received any reply. Not to mention that the so-called poet, owner of the castle, Evgueny Yukhnytsya, does not appear in any website, in addition to the castle, they assume that this is an emeritus unknown…. You may contact at this point the Mayor of Chouzé-sur-Loire to understand, if he Meanwhile, Mayor, it really exists and, if so, whether it is aware of this issue.
    If you have further information, there would be very grateful if me could communicate. In the meantime my humble opinion remains that of a great joke in bad taste! Many cordial greetings
    Emanuela Terragnoli, Verona, Italy

  • Emanuela Terragnoli

    Thank you very much for your reply and translation. I think that is sufficiently clear. Best regards
    Emanuela Terragnoli, Verona, Italy

  • Maler

    The domain of the Château des Réaux was registered anonymously only 8 months ago with only the information about the contest (well, contest might not be the right word as all paintings are accepted and paid). 305 Euros is not much for professional artists but the main entrants are hobby artists and for me it is hard to believe someone would pay 305 Euros for bad and worthless paintings of unkown hobby painters. And they were paid!

    Have you any news?

  • Artists UK

    How do you know that worthless paintings of unknown hobby artists have been paid for their paintings? If they are buying all paintings regardless of quality that is rather strange ….

  • Maler

    1. On the web there are already some amateur artist that are proudly stating that Charteau des Reaux had bought their paintings.
    2. Also on a german forum some report that they sent their images via Email and all were accepted to the contest. As far as I understood some already were paid 305 Euros after sending their paintings.

    For me that is absolutely dodgy! That is not how the market works! I don’t have the time but thought about it to fake a really bad image and see if they tell me to send it to them.

    I can think of 3 possibilities:
    1. All people of the world have suddenly have become fond of each other and give away money.

    2. The now owner of the castle had cheaply bought or rent the castle with the constraints to build up a gallery and now he is in need of a lot of artworks quickly.

    3. This is a large-scale fraud and by attracted as much unsuspecting people as possible they are actually take everyones artwork and even pay them.
    Read the contract! The english and the german contract differ a bit. paragraph 2.2 is missing in the german contract!
    But doesn’t it says that buy receiving the 305 Euros you have sold ALL the rights of ALL your artworks (not only the painting for the contest!). Paragraph 5.1 : “Piece of work” means any piece of work (paragraph 1.4) and agreed price means the 305 Euros for the contest painting. Not sure what they will do with that. Maybe they want to make money buy sueing you later.

    But maybe I am just too overcautious and there is nothing to it but at least I would not risk it for 305 Euros (beside no professional artist would do that for such little price, only amateur artist would consider this as a good price, so for me it is clear that they are aiming for that rather clueless folks.

    We will see….

  • Artists UK

    Yes, the artist is signing over ALL rights to the artwork and it looks from the contract as if Chateaux Des Reaux can even display or sell it without even quoting the name of the creator of the painting. We’re not quite sure on what basis Chateaux Des Reaux could sue the artist other than if the artist was breaching the Chateaux Des Reaux copyright afterwards by licencing the artwork for use elsewhere, which would of course be illegal after they have signed that contract with Chateaux Des Reaux. We’d be interested in the URL’s of where amateurs are boasting of their sale to Chateaux Des Reaux. We’d have a look for them ourselves but right now we are up to our necks in both retail and trade orders and we always believe our customers come first :-)

  • Jay

    Well, I guess I’m one of those sad, loser hobby artists who are desperate for money and will do anything to gain same. Actually, I’m not any of those things. Well, I’m a bit short of the readies but not desperate. I submitted via email a jpeg of one of my paintings to the chateau and received an enthusiastic acceptance a few days later. I asked if payment could be prompt especially for the carriage and I received an extremely courteous phone call from Nadia assuring me that payment would be very prompt. It was, both for the painting and the carriage. I submitted another jpeg and that was accepted too and paid for promptly. All right, the price isn’t wonderful but there isn’t a commission to pay, so that more or less doubles the price and there is no carriage to pay either. I took the whole thing on trust and it paid off. I have paintings on walls all over Europe but not as far as I know on the wall of a chateau – until now. If they are sold on? They bear my signature. I painted them and now they’re out in the world. Isn’t that what we do it for?
    Jay.

  • Artists UK

    Thanks for your feedback Jay. Your point about signing your originals is well taken and good advice for anyone submitting a painting although once someone owns full rights there is nothing they cannot legally do with it – crop it to remove the signature for instance. Your point,”I painted them and now they’re out in the world. Isn’t that what we do it for?” is well-taken although artists do still have to eat and painting originals for 305 Euros each with no ongoing 2nd rights or other publishing income etc is a tough way to make a living.

  • Jay

    I know we all have to make a living – surviving on a state pension isn’t exactly plumpsious and, yes, I don’t have a family to support but….guys, guys, get over yourselves. I’m always grateful for any sale, on the rule that ‘every little helps, as the old girl said as she…..’ Unless you’re up there with ‘the greats’ then life as a painter is a struggle. You tot up your income in bits and drabs. What matters to me is that someone has liked the paintings enough to part with hard cash – and the £240 per painting buys a lot of groceries or canvasses. I might well have painted over them at some point. In the end they’re only marks on a piece of cloth. I’m not precious about my art and if someone wanted to pass my work off as their own that would tell me something worthwhile. By the way, I signed both my paintings at the bottom and also indelibly on the back and also inserted a jpeg on the contract.
    I absolutely don’t regret a thing. (Oh and by the way, Nadia is lovely)
    Cheers,
    Jay

  • Artists UK

    Actually, Jay, EVEN if you are up there with the greats it doesn’t mean the money is rolling in. I could (but I won’t!) name several famous artists who are not rich. I’m sure there are others who feel as you do and perhaps this is right for them but as you said, you don’t have a family to support etc. Many artists do and need a better reimbursement for their artwork than this. However, we are pleased to see that Château des Réaux are doing what they said they would in terms of payment and that you are happy with what you have acheived through them. We wish you all the best with your ‘marks on pieces of cloth’.

  • Liebe Redaktion, liebe Künstler…
    ein paar Worte zu diesem Thema aus “Germany”

    Etwa 90 % aller zumeist guten Künstlerinnen/Künstler würden zu den 10 % Künstlern gehören, die wirklich bekannt und erfolgreich sind und viel Geld mit ihrer Arbeit verdienen.
    Etwa die Hälfte aller guten Künstler/Innen müssen viel Geld investieren, um ein paar namhafte Galerien national wie international in ihre Vita schreiben zu können und die die meisten davon haben entweder einen gut verdienenden Partner oder müssen am Tag eine andere Arbeit machen, um Abends dann malen zu können.

    Soviel mal zu den Kommentaren einiger auf dieser Seite – es sei denen gegönnt, die es nicht nötig haben, an solchen Aktionen, wie “Chateau de Reaux” teilnehmen zu müssen. Für die Teilnehmer/Innen: Es sei Ihnen gegönnt, mal ein Bild verkauft zu haben.

    Bedeutung: man ist nicht deswegen ein herausragender Künstler, weil man davon gut oder sogar sehr gut leben kann, sondern in der Regel deswegen weil man von jemanden entdeckt wurde, der in der Arbeit ein business sieht und weiß, dass man damit viel Geld machen kann. So mancher als Hobbymaler bezeichneter Künstler leistet die gleiche, wenn nicht sogar bessere künstlerische Arbeit und wird trotzdem nicht berühmt – vielleicht im Umkreis ein wenig bekannt. Ein Schmierfink wie zum Beispiel Baselitz ist kaum zu bezahlen und leistet eine “künstlerische Arbeit”, die tatsächlich jeder Machen kann. Eine wirkliche Qualität steckt wahrscheinlich nur in den verwendeten Materialien…was sich gut verkaufen ließ, war die Idee: er würde seine Bilder verkehrt herum malen. So etwas nennt man aber nicht Kunst, sondern Marketing und er hatte Erfolg damit…okay!

    Diese “Wettbewerbe” wie sie nun auch von dem Ukrainer Poet gemacht werden, sind ganz nebenbei nicht neu! Neu ist, dass hier die Bilder von vornherein angekauft werden – meist muß man für solche Wettbewerbe einiges bezahlen: Bezahlen für die Lieferung, Teilnahmegebühren, Beteiligung an den Kosten für einen Katalog und so einiges mehr. Will ein Künstler in einer angesehenen kommerziellen Galerie ausstellen, muß er in der Regel einen Grundbetrag entrichten und je nach Standort und Wertigkeit der Galerie bis zu 50 % des Verkaufswertes abgeben und so manches Mal eine Arbeit für umsonst (als Dankeschön) dalassen.

    Insofern sollten einige Kritker auf dieser Kommentarseite vielleicht ein wenig Realität walten lassen und darüber nachdenken, ob sie nicht im Grunde alle auf diesen Moment warten, wo man sagt: Ich kaufe Ihnen eine Arbeit ab….

    Viele Menschen kaufen sich Bilder, weil sie eine schöne und vielleicht auch interessante Dekoration für ihr Umfeld haben möchten. Einige wenige kaufen Bilder als Wertanlage. Andere kaufen Bilder, weil sie ihren Künstlerfreunden eine Freude machen wollen oder ihre Arbeit fördern wollen. Letztendlich aber ist auch ein Bild im Verkauf nur eine Ware, ein Gegenstand: Mercedes baut Autos, um Geld zu verdienen, ein Künstler malt um Geld zu verdienen oder weil es ihm Spaß macht, kreativ zu sein.
    Es ist also keine künstlerische Abwertung, wenn einer Bilder ankauft, um sie weiterzuverkaufen, das tun Galerien auch und ebenso Käufer von ganz berühmten Künstlern – so wie van Gogh zum Beispiel können viele malen, aber sie haben den Fehler in der Regel noch zu malen oder für den Kunstmarkt nicht interessant zu sein.

    So, bevor ich hier noch die gesamte Kunstgeschichte und ihre verschiedenen Marktwertigkeiten aufführe, würde ich glauben, dass es als Kommentar reicht.
    Jeder teilnehmende Künstler hat eine Entscheidung für sich getroffen und seinen Betrag sicher erhalten – das Restrisiko, auf den mit Sicherheit sehr vielen Exponaten liegt beim Ankäufer…wenn er sie weiterverkaufen will…oder muß.

    Anmerkung: Mein Englisch ist nicht so ausgereift, deswegen in deutsch. Ich hoffe, Sie können es entsprechend und sinngemäss übersetzen.

    Also beste Grüße an alle Künstler/Innen der Welt, viel Glück für die Teilnehmer/Innen dieser Aktion….betrachtet es gegebenenfalls als eine günstige Werbung, für die man auch noch was bekommt und – ich finde – der Eintrag in der Vita: Ausgestellt im Chateau de Reaux klingt so schlecht auch nicht, oder?

    Euer AE.Untiet – artinfo-management – Hamburg – germany

  • Artists UK

    Thank you for your observations. Yes, it is indeed up to each artist to decide whether such an offer is in their best interests given the time it takes them to paint the picture etc plus how desperately they need a sale. We provide a computer translation below of this post in German. It isn’t brilliant but it should give those who don’t read German well (like me) an idea what our German friend is saying –

    Dear Editors, dear artists …
    A few words on this topic from “Germany”

    Approximately 90% of all mostly good artists / artist would be the 10% include artists who truly know and are successful and a lot of money with their work deserve.
    About half of all good artists must complete a lot of money to invest, to a few well-known galleries nationally and internationally in their Vita be able to write and most of them have either a high earning partner or need a day, others work to evening, then paint them.

    Times as much to the comments of some on this page – it was gegönnt those who do not need it, in such actions, such as “Chateau de Reaux” to participate. For the participants inside: It was gegönnt you, sometimes a picture to have sold.

    Meanings: one is not therefore an outstanding artist, because one of them is good or even very good place to live, but usually it because it was discovered by someone who work in a business sees and knows so much that you can make money . Many people designated as a hobby painter artist does the same, if not better artistic work and is still not known – perhaps around a little known. Fink as a lubricant, for example, Baselitz is hardly to pay and make an “artistic work”, which can actually make any. A real quality is probably only in the materials used … what did sell well, was the idea: his pictures he would paint upside down. That is called but not art, but marketing and he had success so … okay!

    These “contests” as they are now also on the Ukrainian poet made, incidentally, are not new! What is new is that here the pictures from the outset be purchased – usually it is for such contests some pay: Pay for the supply and participation fees, participation in the costs for a catalog, and so much more. Will an artist in a prestigious commercial gallery exhibit, he is usually a basic pay and, depending on the location and value of the gallery up to 50% of sales value and will many times a job for free (as a thank you) dalassen.

    Therefore some Kritker comment on this page perhaps a little reality manner and consider whether it is not basically all waiting for this moment, where you say: I’ll buy you a job ….

    Many people buy paintings, because they are a beautiful and perhaps also interesting decoration for their environment would like to have. Buy a few pictures as a value investment. Others buy pictures because they are a joy artist friends want to do or want to promote their work. Ultimately, however, is also an image in selling only one product, an object: to build Mercedes cars to make money, an artist paints to earn money or because it’s fun to be creative.
    There is no artistic devaluation when one pictures ankauft to resell them, the galleries are doing well and also buyers of very famous artists – such as van Gogh, for example, many paint, but they have the defect usually have to paint or for the art market is not interesting.

    So before I even here the entire history of art and its various market perform, I would believe it as a comment last.
    Each participating artist has a decision for himself and his hit safely amount received – the residual risk to the safety of many exhibits lies with the purchaser … if he wants to sell them … or need.

    Note: My English is not so mature, so in German. I hope that you can use it accordingly and translate accordingly.

    So best greetings to all the artists inside the world, good luck for the participants inside this action …. It may be regarded as an effective advertising for which we still gets what and – I think – the entry in the Life: Issued in Chateau de Reaux sounds not so bad, huh?

    Your AE.Untiet – ArtInfo Management – Hamburg – germany
    German

    »
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  • Hello, my name is Mariano Rodríguez Cevallos, and Im from a very far away land called Argentina. When I first read about the contest I thought it was terrific, fantastic and hardly true. But I sent my jpeg and was answered a month later with a positive reaction. I spoke to Daria via e-mail many times, and I have received a writen contract a few days ago. The only thing missing to me and my lawyer friend was that there was no mention of the contest whatsoever, but when confronted with this situation, they told me that it would be ok if I wrote an addendum at the bottom of the contract, mentioning the contest and its prizes.
    Now, I know that for you 305 euros is hardly any money, because its more or like what 305 Argentinian pesos would be to me, for a painting that it 1m x 70cm and took me over 2 months to do, but to me 305 euros are 1,300 pesos. Now, wouldnt you do it for 1,300 euros?! Its one of the advantages of living here I guess. I am planing on sending the paint over and take my chances, I could loose the money, I could get screwed over, but there is a chance that I could make money out of this, so I will roll the dice and take my chances.
    I am attaching a copy of the painting Im sending, just click on http://marianorc.deviantart.com/art/moi-ausi-66505366
    If you think that 305 euros are not enough for this painting, im open to better offers.

    Best Regards
    Mariano R.C.

  • One more thing
    I looket up the name “Yevhen Yukhnytsya” (whis is the name that I have in the contract) and I came up with this: http://www.svensk-bordhockey.se/spelare/spelare.asp?ID=310086
    Apparently our poet friend likes to play…table hockey?!

  • Artists UK

    It is hard to put a value to a painting but looking at your painting we would think that in the right market it would be worth far more than 305 Euros. Possibly in the right gallery in Paris maybe? Perhaps that is where it may end up? Interesting to see that the competition side of the deal is being played down, especially in light of the composition of the jury as mentioned previously. Thank you for letting us know about this. We still maintain the same view. We don’t advertise the exhibition/competition at Chateaux de Reaux but this blog gives artists an opportunity to discuss their views on it and then each artist must make their own choice about whether they want to get involved or not.

  • Dear Artists, comment to the discussions about Chateau des Reaux, Yevhen Yukhnytsya and the leg-paintings. I am a german artist and curator and I was asked / invited to curate the exhibition in the castle. Yes, so it is. I had several contacts with the office in the Ucraine and the whole story is in fact so special and strange, that I decided now, its to crazy to be just (a very expensive) fake. Finally it starts to interest me whats behind that curtain. So I will travel April 17.-19.2009 ( tickets first class was prepayed by the YY office ) to the Chateau to meet Mr. Yukhnytsya himself and to see the paintings. After that meeting we all will know more. When I am back, I will post a report here.

  • Artists UK

    Hi Michael
    Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your involvement with Chateau des Reaux and we look forward to your report as I am sure do many of the artists who have been a party to these discussions or submitted paintings to Chateau des Reaux.

    The impression so far has not been so much that Chateau des Reaux is running a scam or fraud but that they are buying full rights to original works at very cheap prices in order to make a massive profit on selling them plus ongoing reproduction and second rights incomes (since the artist would have no legal rights at all in respect of the sold original. Chateau des Reaux do not even have to say who painted it).

    The composition of the jury for the Chateau des Reaux competition gave a number of people the impression that it was not a very serious competition as only one member appeared to have an in-depth background in the field. The cynical view is that the competition was a “sweetener” to encourage artists to part with their originals at a very low price in the hope that they might win the associated competition. However, we await further feedback and information to see how justified such a view might be. Other artists felt that even at the low price it was still income for them they would otherwise have not had.

  • iOne

    Eugene Yuhnitsa (Евгений Юхница) – the famous Ukrainian fraudster and conman. He has repeatedly been involved in questionable money-laundering operations. In Ukraine there are several sites that describe in detail his criminal activities. Indeed, in the public sphere, he pretends to be a poet. However, his works – below any criticism. His machinations are also well aware of the journalists a number of Ukrainian media, in particular, “Kommersant”, “Monday”, “Inter”, “Today”, “Kiev Gazette.

  • Artists UK

    Thanks for your comment iOne. As far as the Chateau des Reaux exhibition and competition are concerned all the details were published and according to artists comments they have been honoured. We’d certainly like comments wehere an artist did not receive their remuneration. As far as we can see, this was not fraud. The worst you could say was that it was an unethical and unscrupulous means of getting artists, motivated by a poor economic climate, to part with full rights on their original work at a ludicrously low price. As we commented at the time, the competition did seem to have been rather “fixed” with only one person on the jury who appears to have any real right to be there. I guess we wouldn’t be surprised to find that Mr Yuhnitsa’s dealings are a shade more shady. Anyone else got anything to add about how they’ve been treated by Chateau des Reaux or Eugene Yuhnitsa?

  • servane

    J’ai aussi été victime, de l’arnaque du château des réaux; mais leur contrat de cession de droit n est pas légal; lisez plutôt ceci, si cela peut vous rassurer… :

    La cession de droit est l’autorisation écrite donnée par l’auteur d’exploiter son œuvre dans des conditions déterminées.

    La loi impose que les cessions de droit doivent être strictement et clairement délimitées quant à l’étendue, la destination, le lieu et la durée et que chacun des droits cédés fasse l’objet d’une mention distincte (art. L.131-3 du CPI).

    La philosophie de cette disposition est de renforcer l’idée que l’auteur dispose d’un droit exclusif d’exploitation sur son œuvre et il doit toujours pouvoir contrôler l’usage qui est fait de son œuvre.

    De nombreux contrats prévoient une cession de droit dans laquelle tous les modes d’exploitations, tous les supports, des droits cédés ad vitam eternam,pour le monde entier sont envisagés. Ces contrats léonins ne sont pas conformes au CPI. En effet, ils ne définissent pas clairement le nombre d’exemplaires de la publication ou d’affichages et ne délimitent ni la durée, ni le territoire, ni la destination de l’exploitation. Il est concrètement impossible dans ces conditions d’envisager une juste rémunération pour le photographe.

    L’art. L.131-3 du CPI est une disposition impérative, on ne peut y déroger. De plus, en cas de litige, le juge opère une interprétation restrictive de ces clauses en faveur de l’auteur. Tout ce qui n’est pas expressément cédé par l’auteur reste sa propriété.

    La notion « libre de droits » n’existe pas en droit français. Cette appellation est manifestement contraire au Code de la Propriété Intellectuelle (articles L.111-1, L. 121-1, L. 131-3).

    La rémunération issue des droits d’auteur est distincte de la rémunération de mise en œuvre qui est une contrepartie de la prestation (temps passé).

    Le CPI pose un principe selon lequel la rémunération issue du droit d’auteur doit être proportionnelle ; Ainsi, l’article L.131-4 du CPI dispose : « La cession par l’auteur de ses droits sur son oeuvre peut être totale ou partielle. Elle doit comporter au profit de l’auteur la participation proportionnelle aux recettes provenant de la vente ou de l’exploitation ».
    Concrètement, la rémunération proportionnelle est un pourcentage des profits tirés de l’exploitation de l’œuvre.

    Le code prévoit qu’une rémunération forfaitaire soit définie dans des cas spécifiques. C’est notamment le cas lorsque la rémunération proportionnelle est impossible à appliquer.

    En cas de litige, les juges ont la possibilité de réviser les conditions de prix du contrat (forfait) si la rémunération prévue ou la prévision des produits de l’œuvre cause un préjudice à l’auteur de plus de 7/12eme (art.. L.131-5 du CPI).

    Il arrive fréquemment que des œuvres soient diffusées sans que le nom de l’auteur soit mentionné. Ces pratiques sont illégales au sens de l’art. L.121-1 du CPI.

    Sous de nombreuses publications de photographies dans la presse, il apparaît la mention « DR » (Droits Réservés). Cette pratique, loin d’être marginale, est manifestement illégale au regard du droit moral de l’auteur et du monopole d’exploitation dont bénéficie l’auteur.

    Il est à rappeler que les œuvres dont on ne connaît pas l’auteur (« œuvres orphelines ») ne peuvent nullement être exploitées sans accord de l’auteur.

  • Artists UK

    Merci pour l’information juridique détaillée. Peut-être cela pourrait aider ceux qui sont dans une position similaire si elles prennent des mesures juridiques contre Château Réaux. Au meilleur de ma capacité, j’ai inclus une traduction en anglais de votre commentaire pour ceux qui ne lisent pas le français :

    “I was also victim of the chateau Reaux castle scam and their so-called agreement is not legal. To assure yourself of this please read the following:

    The law requires written authorization being given by the author (artist) to exploit his/her work under specific conditions.

    The law requires that transfer of rights must be strictly and clearly defined as to the scope, purpose, location and duration and that each of the rights transferred is the subject of a separate reference (art. L.131- 3 of the ICC).

    The purpose of this provision is to reinforce the idea that the author has an exclusive right to the exploitation of his/her work and should always be able to control the use made of that work.

    Many contracts provide for a transfer of rights in which all modes of operations, all media rights sold ad vitam eternam to the world are considered. These one-sided contracts are not consistent with the ICC. Indeed, they do not clearly define the number of copies of the

    publication or display and do not define the duration or territory, or the destination of the operation. It is practically impossible in these circumstances to ensure fair compensation for the artist or photographer.

    Art. L.131-3 of the ICC is a mandatory provision that can be waived. In addition, in case of dispute, the judge makes a restrictive interpretation of the clauses in favour of the author. Anything that is not expressly given by the author is his/her property.

    The term “royalty free” does not exist in French law. This term is manifestly contrary to the Code of Intellectual Property (Articles L.111-1, L. 121-1, L. 131-3).

    The compensation issue of copyright is distinct from the remuneration and is a consideration for the provision (time).

    The ICC is a principle that the compensation issue of copyright must be proportionate; example, Article L.131-4 of the ICC states: “The transfer by the author of his/her rights to his/her work may be total or part. It should have the benefit of the author’s proportional share in revenue from the sale or exploitation.” Specifically, the proportional remuneration is a percentage of the profits from the exploitation of the
    work.

    The code provides for a lump sum payment to be defined in specific cases. This is particularly the case when the proportional remuneration is impossible to implement.

    In case of dispute, judges may revise the terms of the contract price (package) if the remuneration provided for or predicting the products of the work causes harm to the author of more than 7/12eme (art. . L.131-5 of the ICC).

    Often the works are disseminated without the author’s name being mentioned. These practices are illegal within the parameters of art. L.121-1 CPI.

    In many publications of an author’s artwork or photographs in the press they are marked “DR” (Rights Reserved). This practice, far from being marginal, is clearly illegal from infringing the moral rights of the author and the exploitation monopoly legally enjoyed by the author.

    It should be borne in mind that works for which we do not know the author (“orphan works”) cannot be used without permission of the author.”

    If the above submission is correct then far from being merely somewhat immoral as has been suggested previously, more-or-less the whole offering of Chateau Reaux was completely illegal. Any artist or photographer who has had dealings with Chateau Reaux and sold paintings to them should perhaps consider talking legal action to obtain proper remuneration for their work. If you have been affected in any way by Chateau Reaux then please make a comment here on your dealings with Chateau Reaux for the benefit of others.

  • Roanne

    I and other artists have recently been emailing each other as to the situation. Contrary to what was promised by Réaux, there has been no exhibition, no catalog and no contest. A couple of us recently wrote to them requesting exact dates for compliance with their promises (most of us have copies of email exchanges with them in the past with their excuses and a copy of the dates for the contest and exhibition from their Web site). As we had thought – no reply.

    We could probably take legal action on the intellectual property grounds or on other grounds but that costs money and a class action suit would be very difficult as the artists are all over the world.

    What is interesting is that on their Web site they indicate that due to the large amount of paintings they have had to store them safely elsewhere – Ukraine?

    Also, in the section where one could post a comment there are only honorable certificates in favor of loan companies.

    In addition, I have been told that the Académie Mazarin that gave the “poet” a certificate of honor (posted on the Web site) is also bogus.

    So yes, I was paid. And I think all the artists were paid (even if the contract was totally one sided we agreed to sign it) but we also sold our paintings with the hope to take part in the contest and possibly win (or not but it looked like a very legitimate contest and would look good on our CVs).

    Prior to signing the contract, I had spoken to Francis Parent who had a vague recollection of being asked to be on the jury. I recently emailed him again and he said that he had not had any news from the Château.

    So, finally, not much we can do. The only thing I can think of is if there is an artist who lives nearby, they could go and see what is going on and inform all of us. But that contains the risk of being bombarded by all of the artists in a thousand languages. When I sent my email to the Château I received a ton of emails from artists in many languages (many of which were blocked by my spam filter since they did not seem to understand the procedure to be unblocked).

    If anybody who has posted here has any ideas of how to proceed I am sure that they would be welcome.

  • Artists UK

    Thanks for that Roanne. As you will see from the previous comment the suggestion was made that the whole offer and contract was not just exploitative and/or immoral but actually illegal. This could mean that any artist who now has the resources to take legal action against them could consider doing so or anyone who has the financial means to support a legal action by one or or more of the artists affected could consider taking legal action. However, broken promises over a comptition may be hard to sue over and I expect they know that. If legal action is taken there is little doubt that Chateau des Reaux will rely heavily on having paid the fees they were contracted to pay and give a number of excuses as to why the competition did not come off. Has anyone found out anything else or made any progress legally or otherwise?

  • Bettina

    Yevhen Yukhnytsya seems to have a new project in mind. Last year he registered 3 trade marks for beer. May be, he lost his mind about art.
    So we should forget about the project, at least i made large fotos of my 2 artworks and i plan, to reuse the content anyhow.

  • Artists UK

    Thanks for that Bettina. So if he starts asking you to invest in a Brewery (Chateau Real Ale?) then you’ll know not to get involved :-)

  • Suzanne

    En tous les cas, ce Monsieur avait l’intention de poursuivre ses pratiques. J’ai reçu depuis lors une demande pour peindre trois ou quatre “poètes” dont Rimbaud si je me souviens bien dans une ambiance moderne. J’avais même pense mettre un emballage de Mac Do sur sa table de travail !
    Bof il vaut mieux oublier …des tordus, on en trouve partout, même dans les châteaux !

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