By now it’s common knowledge that Donald Trump believes that anything that contradicts him is ‘fake,’ but when it comes to a battle between a Chicago art gallery and the current President of the United States as to who owns the authentic painting of Two Sisters (on the Terrace) by the French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, most would believe the original is hanging in the gallery, not the President’s New York penthouse. Trump begs to differ.
— Profesor Higgins (@HigginsProfesor) August 1, 2017
Donald Trump’s biographer, Tim O’Brien, said recently in an interview that he first spotted the painting back in 2005 on Trump’s private jet and decided to question him about it. “You know, that’s an original Renoir,” O’Brien said Trump told him.
“Donald, it’s not,” was O’Brien’s reply. “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called ‘Two Sisters on the Terrace’, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago. That’s not an original.” However, in his typical style, Trump repeated the very same claim the following day.
Amanda Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Art Institute of Chicago, is also convinced that the gallery is in possession of the real deal, claiming that the painting was given to the Institute as a gift back in 1933 by Annie Swan Coburn. Coburn initially bought the painting for $100,000 from an art dealer by the name of Paul Durand-Ruel, who had purchased the piece directly from Renoir himself. Hicks added that the institute is “satisfied that our version is real.”
The painting was visible in the background during an interview with 60 Minutes that was given in the President’s penthouse suite in Trump Tower soon after his election victory among others, but more than just a handful of people are questioning the piece’s authenticity.
“The painting has long been known and has, since its gift to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1933, been one of the treasures of the museum,” said Richard Brettell, chair of aesthetic studies at the University of Texas. “Can President Trump own another version? From my trained eye looking at a pretty good photograph of Mrs. Trump in their penthouse at Trump Tower, it seems clearly to be a copy of that famous Chicago picture.”
Richard Rand, associate director for collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, whole-heartedly agrees. “While on rare occasions Renoir made variants of his painted compositions, he never copied himself or made precise duplicates of his oil paintings,” he said in an email. “If I were presented with a picture that was an exact copy of a famous Renoir hanging in a museum, I would guess it was probably a reproduction of some kind.”
But do any of these facts or expert opinions bother President Trump? His biographer doesn’t think so.
“I’m sure he’s still telling people who come into the apartment, ‘It’s an original, it’s an original’,” Mr O’Brien said. “He believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades. He’ll tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face.”
Featured image via Screenshot