French court throws out Facebook nude art ‘censorship’ case

Sébastien Bozon, AFP | Gustave Courbet's 'The Origin of the World', painted in 1866, is one of the most famous artworks at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

A French court on Thursday dismissed a case brought by a French teacher who wanted to sue the US social media giant over his claims that his page was censored when he posted an iconic nude painting by Gustave Courbet.


The Paris appeal court in December 2016 had upheld a ruling that Facebook could be sued under French and not Californian law.

The teacher, Frederic Durand, won in the Paris high court earlier after claiming that Facebook were wrong to suspend his account for posting a photo of "The Origin of the World", which depicts female genitalia.

But the latest ruling said material produced in the case "does not demonstrate with the necessary rigour that the deactivation... was due to the posting of the painting".

The court "dismisses all of Frederic Durand's claims", it added.

Courbet's iconic nude, a canvas likely commissioned by the Turkish-Egyptian diplomat Khalil-Bey, its first owner, entered the Musée d’Orsay in 1995, 40 years after its last private purchase, by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

“The anatomical description of female sex organs is not attenuated by any historical or literary device,” the Paris museum describes the work in an online blurb.

“Yet thanks to Courbet’s great virtuosity and the refinement of his amber colour scheme, the painting escapes pornographic status.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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