The Irish artist whose famous image of Argentinean/Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara has graced a countless number of t-shirts, posters and other items is now making moves to claim royalties on his artwork – 43 years after he created it.
Jim Fitzpatrick, according to “The Irish Times,” has never been on the receiving end of royalties that would have come from the image’s use, but now he’s seeking to change that and donate all of the money earned to Guevara’s family and the Cuban people.
The renowned red and black portrait that Fitzpatrick created in 1968, using a photograph taken by Alberto Korda, is rated among the world’s top 10 most iconic images, right alongside the Mona Lisa and a portrait of Jesus Christ.
Now, Fitzpatrick wants to re-claim ownership of his work.
“There’s no question the image is one of the biggest in the world alongside the likes of Coke but I have never sought any royalties for it. I have decided now is the time and I am hoping to have the copyright in place when I visit Che’s wife Aleida in Cuba in September for the opening of the Che Guevara Cultural Center in Havana,” Fitzpatrick told “The Irish Times.”
His lawyer, Fianna Fail politician Michael Mulcahy, says that although the famous image is based on another photographer’s work, it still carries enough of its own unique characteristics to classify it as a Fitzpatrick original.
“People ask Jim all the time why he never took out a copyright on the picture but that’s just Jim for you. He isn’t interested in money. Everyone has exploited the image down through the years and now Jim feels it’s time to make the image do some good around the world,” he said.
Che Guevara’s father Ernesto Guevara Lynch was of Irish descent. “The first thing to note is that in my son’s veins flow the blood of the Irish rebels,” Lynch said.
Fitzpatrick is hoping to hand the approved copyright of his image to the Guevara family on his next visit to Cuba.