Skip to comments.NYT Touts White House Artworks, Misses Obvious Copy, Apparent Fraud (Freeper Breaks the Story)
Posted on 10/08/2009 12:05:05 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed
Yesterday, the NYT ran a story about the White House acquiring art. It included a slide show of a dozen artworks.
This Freeper took a look and found one abstract work he admired:
"Watusi (Hard Edge)," by Alma Thomas, a longtime Washington resident who is an African-American painter. Photo: Gift of Vincent Melzac/Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
As I admired it, I thought it reminiscent, even derivative of a favorite artwork of mine by Matisse. I recall seeing that one decades ago at the Tate Gallery in London. A giant collage (about ten feet tall) from late in Matisse's life, when his eyesight was failing:
The Snail (L'escargot), by Henri Matisse, Nice-Cimiez, Hotel Regina, [summer 1952-early] 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, 9'4 3/4" x 9' 5" (287 x 288 cm) collection Tate Gallery, London.
I had planned to post them for comparison, and to share my admiration for both. But when I saw them side-by-side, the similarity clarified. I realized that the new one was EXACTLY the same composition as the Matisse, rotated 90 degrees.
Is this fraud? If the new piece has been titled "Homage to Collage" or "Matisse in Blue", I would think the artist wasn't trying to hide the copying. But I wonder whether anyone realized that the artist copied almost every aspect of a famous work to sell her artwork. Perhaps everyone involved knew that this is a re-colored reprint. If not, it seems to be an embarrassment for the "sophisticates" who failed to spot a copy hiding in plain sight.
As too many people say about abstract expressionist art: "Even I could have done THAT!"
Great work. I left a message for Carol Vogel and told her she needs to write a follow up story that the work of art is a ripoff on Matisse.
New York Times — Headquarters
Phone: (212) 556-1234
Fax: (212) 556-3622
Address: 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10036-3959
She did hers 10 years AFTER.
Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963: A prominent abstract painter of the 1960s and 1970s and the first African-American woman to have a solo art exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. Born in Columbus in 1891, racist attitudes and a poor education system for African-Americans at that time hampered her childhood, but she excelled at architectural drawing.
LOL. So Matisse, ironically, was liberated by a black woman. The use of geometeric shapes to express cultural yearnings and aspirations was actually started by the ancient Egyptians, a black people who provided the foundation for Western Civilization.
Just to make sure it wasn’t the other way around, I checked. The African forger did her copy in 1963. Matisse did his original 52/53.
I apologize if this was pointed out in the thread. I didn’t see it.
They do. They have a mosaic quality to them.
Drudge needs to post this....
Looks like a rip off to me. I looked at her other art-—very limited in ideas and creativity.
Wonder how long Wikipedia will let that stay there?
Good one! To the freeper who posted it! LOL
The artist could never hope to reproduce the authenticity of the camera. But good artists like Norman Rockwell understood that academic realism did not preclude adding the artists interpretation to the image.
Great artists always made paintings that convey more than photons captured on paper or in a ccd ever could.
And to think that they removed the bust of Winston Churchill.
The arguments for this are:
Her other paintings are drastically different than this.
She was very successful and known for her other style there wouldn't be a need to copy.
Also, Matisse is known to have made several paintings around a theme. For example, Icarus and La Chute.
This could just be a case of piss poor journalism.
It looks like political correctness prevents the art world from calling a spade a spade:
Decorating the White House with Smithsonian Art
Watusi (Hard Edge)
Acrylic on canvas
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Alma Thomas, the first African-American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum, was linked to the color-field school that had developed in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s. In Watusi, Thomas is trying to mix together different styles such as Henri Matisses cutouts. She was also interested in the idea that color could generate musical correspondence, Brougher says. It was more than creating an abstract painting but trying to create music out of painting.
The sole commenter on the article wasn't playing the PC game:
This isn't just "mixing together" influences including Matisse. It is a direct copy of a Matisse work, just rotated 90 degrees and with the colors switched around:
Posted by MDC on August 4,2009 | 10:27PM
LOL! Michelle just hung her Matisse reproduction sideways! What does she know, anyway?
Journalistic screwups are far too frequent to ignore that possibility.
I wonder who else Alma ripped off.
Rev Wright says BLACK FOLK invented it. Tis proves it!!!!( sarc off!) National Socialism redefining history, just like was done n 1920s Europe, and it is why the Nazis stole and hid all politiically incorreect works of art. Soon we will see traditional US colonial art start to disappear ( It never happened).
There are much, much worse wannabees. This one by a certain Austrian artist manqué, for instance.
Basically, it was an admitted study of Matisse.
Probably not as big if a deal as is what first appears. Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Decorating-the-White-House-with-Smithsonian-Art.html?c=y&page=9#ixzz0TNLungOn
Thanks for doing that overlay. Very illustrative of the plagiarism.
See 120, I was wrong, also, it is well a known ‘study’ piece of Matisse’s work. I think we all (myself included) jumped the gun.
It is also different media.
We were right about the copy/similarity, but wrong about the motive.
I'm proud of FR that the truth came out though.
How much is that painting worth in Obama Money?
Mine too, with colored tissue paper and glue.
Found this on an art website:
A good place to begin thinking about Alma Thomas’s ravishing late work might be the moment in 1964 when, close to paralysis and bedridden, the 73-year-old artist found herself staring at the hollyhock shadows she had known her entire life and calculating how to use them in her paintings. A year earlier, she had seen the late Matisse cutouts at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Matisse’s work had prompted her to paint an acrylic-on-canvas version of his collage The Snail (1953), in which nearly all the original colors were reversed. Thomas named her painting Watusi (Hard Edge), after Chubby Checker’s dance hit “The Watusi.”
Exactly, she was open about it being a study and it is listed as such, pretty common for artists to do this. It was, however, a fun intellectual exercise and a chance for a little art research.. now on to important topics.
If you haven't yet seen it, rent this very unique documentary which explores the monumental larceny of that very bad painter and his degenerate cronies.
But no intent to deceive.
Looks like someone kidnapped Sherwin Williams and this is the ransom note.
I sent it to Breitbart.
you now owe me one new keyboard since mine is covered with a beverage that was supposed to wet my whistle.
I don’t believe it was a “study” of Matisse. More like a rip-off.
LOL I like it!
I disagree. Modernism/ Liberalism killed art. Modernism and Liberalism must deny the existence of truth, or any other objective and universal standard.
Beauty is truth, and portrayal of beauty necessarily affirms the existence of truth. Therefore just as liberalism and modernism must stamp out any notion of truth in all human endeavors, it must also destroy the expression of beauty, hence the movement towards abstraction, and the denial of any aesthetic sense or standard as “bourgeoisie sentimentality” or a “cultural prejudice”.
As such modern art is devoid of meaning, beauty and at best can trigger an emotional provocation in the viewer.
Without truth, there is no right, justice or beauty, only power, and power issues from the barrel of a gun.
>>> the Nazis stole and hid all politiically incorreect works of art <<<<
Actually they stole everything they liked and could get away with (particularly if it had been owned by Jewish patrons or art dealers), and burned and destroyed the “politically incorrrect” stuff that they didn’t like.
See #131 above. “The Rape Of Europa” is an excellent documentary of it all.
No different than the coppied “art” of Ward Churchill.
in grad school they expect you to put glitter on it.
Where they hire the deaf (they can't hear real Americans protesting), dumb (they fall for every spin and lie of the liberal politicians and talking heads), and blind (they can't tell an original artwork from an obvious copy/fraud - nor a Birth Certificate, either).
I guess you can say they are fully staffed with people who have occupational disabilities.
Good catch, Beelzebubba! A FReeper scores again with another expose.
I agree with you. I wasn’t clear. I think modernism is a reaction to photography. Abstract art became the dominant form with the advance of photography. Artists no longer seemed needed to provide a record for posterity.
All I see is a kid with a bottle of glue, a pair of scissors, various construction paper sheets, and a stack of assorted tissue papers.
Easy-peasy fancy art.
Hitler repulses me much more than he could possibly fascinate me. I read Speer’s memoir, that’s about everything I need to know about the Nazis.
The artist knew good art? It’ll be a constant reminder to those in the WH the truth will be told in time.
With the above being said, that doesn’t excuse a wannabe lackatalent old lady from plagarizing a true artist’s original compositions and calling it their own........even if it’s written up in some artsy-fartsy publication.