Is It The Real Renoir Or Merely The Mock?


In 2011, Psychology Today reported on a paper published in Human Communication Research about lying. According to the study, the average number of lies told daily by the participants was 1.65. (Surely that number is higher on days when they attended a cocktail party.)

It all seems that lying, like money, gravitates to a small number of folks. The top one percent told 22.7% of the lies, and slightly more than 5% told half the lies. Isn’t that fascinating? No word on whether Trump participated in the study, but I’m sure he would have gotten into the top 0.01%.

Last week, Vanity Fair reported on a story told by Trump biographer Tim O’Brien that Trump had asserted to him years ago that a painting on his plane was an original Renoir. Now, Trump can afford a real Renoir, even though Forbes says Trump’s net worth fell by $600,000,000 last year—a 16% drop. It’s just that the one he doesn’t own, the real one, has been hanging in the Art Institute of Chicago since before Trump was even born.

The Trump copy of “Two Sisters (On the Terrace)” is prominently displayed in Trump’s New York apartment, as seen in a couple of interviews taped there in the last year. Fake art in the penthouse? Now, that’s real news.

Now it’s not that rich people don’t have things copied. Jacqueline Onassis and the Duchess of Windsor had pieces copied by costume jeweler and designer Kenneth Jay Lane. Even Elizabeth Taylor, with her legendary collection of jewels, owned costume pieces by Ciner.

I’m reminded of an incident years ago when I was getting the finishing touches on a manicure. The next client up was a marquee name lady who arrived a few minutes early. Following her was a man who was selling Louis Vuitton knockoffs out of the trunk of his car, and she was buying them up like they were the real deal on sale. (And Vuitton is NEVER on sale.) As it was close to Christmas, I had to think she was finishing her shopping list by buying gifts for those who wouldn’t know better or she didn’t like in the first place. (Maybe someone who had slept with her husband—just guessing.)

The point being, the lady knew they were fake. Beyond that, it was her game to play.

As for myself, I got a really good buy at auction years ago on a student copy of a painting of Salome by Titian. The original is almost 500 years old and hangs in the Museo del Prado; mine is maybe half that age. The original is priceless; I got mine for a bargain as no one at the auction that day wanted a painting of a woman holding the severed head of John the Baptist on a platter. It is a bit gruesome, after all, so I hung mine in the dining room.

In the big scheme of things, this Trump-Renoir kerfuffle doesn’t much matter. And, if you do want a copy of Trump’s copy, there are 123 sellers of some form of print or poster available on eBay. Or, you can go whole hog and order a real painting copy from a website that boasts of having major hotel chains and “the largest real estate developers” among its clients. (Hmmmmm.) Price for your custom size copy of the original? $527.99, not counting the $20.00 October discount if you act now.

But you’re not going to, are you? I didn’t think so. We’re all getting enough lies, fakes, and mock turtle soup without paying for more. Although the check for all this humbuggery that’s going on right now is going to be paid by somebody—it’s just not clear who’s getting the check.



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Well, Let Me Say This About That is an interesting twist on current events, as told by Dallas' finest and funniest Craig McCartney.

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