Now, mind you, I hadn't gotten that far in the full Vanity Fair piece. Thus far, I had only seen the initial Raw Story background about Trump claiming to have an original painting.that was, in reality, a fake. And it had this picture above -- which was all I needed. "Hey! That can't be the original," I immediately said to myself. "I've seen the original. It's a Renoir in the Impressionist collection of the Chicago Art Institute!" And boy howdy, if I know that, someone who has a grasp on Fine Art Masterpieces about as tentative as holding a mound of cooked spaghetti, then what on earth is Trump doing lying about this being the original??!! And yes, not to worry, I figured out the answer to that about half-a-second later. And yes, it had something to do with insecurity, con men and congenitally lying.
And so it was hilarious when I read the full article from Vanity Fair and got to this passage.. To put it in context, the piece notes that after O'Brien spotted the painting he was curious how Trump would respond to a question which, it turns out, he himself knew the answer.
Curious, O’Brien asked Trump about the painting: was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. “No, it’s not Donald,” O’Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was.
“Donald, it’s not,” O’Brien said adamantly. “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.” He concluded emphatically: “That’s not an original.”
Actually, the story gets funnier, in a head-shaking way. The next day, the two men were together again. flying back on the Trump airplane, and came upon the same painting. (Yes, the painting had been on the wall inside the aircraft. Because that's, of course, where everyone displays their art masterworks., And Trump brought up this "original painting" on the wall as if they hadn't even had the discussion the day before. O'Brien says he chose not to engage in debate and let it drop.
That's bad enough, but then years passed. And Trump was elected president. And 60 Minutes did a story on Trump, in which the president-elect proudly stage-managed his home to be as hopefully-impressive as possible. And there, O'Brien says he noticed yet again, on the wall was that same fake Renoir!
By the way, readers of these pages will recall that when I go back home to Chicago I often tend to re-post photos I've taken of paintings I particularly like there. And I especially like their world-renown collection of French Impressionist artwork. And in one corner of a room that has several Monets, works by Rodin and a famous Caillbotte and more, there are several Renoirs.
Including Two Sisters on the Terrace.
From the private photographic collection of Robert J. Elisberg
on loan from the Elisberg Family Foundation