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!"
that’s pretty good. reminds me of the “Arizona snow man, snow glob” (just melted water)
Looks like WARD CHURCHILL-NESS is catching!!
Alma Woodsey Thomas (September 22, 1891 February 24, 1978) was an African American Expressionist painter and art educator.
Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Thomas moved to Washington, D.C. with her family in 1907. In 1924, she was the first graduate of Howard University’s art department. In 1934, Thomas became the first African American woman to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. She was also the first African American woman to have a solo exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Thomas’s early art was realistic, but delved into abstraction influenced by the work of her professors, Lois Mailou Jones and James V. Herring. Thomas’s later art, influenced by Expressionism, became her best-known works: large canvases filled with irregular, brightly colored patterns. These works have been compared to Byzantine mosaics and the pointillist paintings of Georges-Pierre Seurat.
Two of Thomas’s works now hang in the White House. For example, her “Watusi (Hard Edge)” hangs in the East Wing, in the office of First Lady Michelle Obama.
LOL. I guess dead artists tell no tales. The least we can do is blackball her work from the WH. Or is that not being politically correct?
when my kids were little and i volunteered in the chandler school district (also taught) we made stuff like this in K-2 grade. tear the construction paper and glue.
good point. i’ll tear some construction paper, glue it, and apply for an NEA grant. i’ll say it’s for “healthcare”.
I just had a thought. Perhaps Bill Ayers is the one who did the artwork and Ms Thomas just signed her name to it.
True. Cheap tricks are a hallmark of today’s collegiate education.
But the colors are different.
Silly rabbit. They'll just claim that Matisse stole it from Thomas.
i would hope that i would have gotten more than that.
When I wash my red tabby cat’s blanket, I get some amazing lint from the dryer.
I’m getting the old red x in a square thing for the second one.
my oldest is working on a dual major at asu, art and high school education.
his stuff is way better than this. he did this in primary grades.
Ward Churchill doesn’t believe that it’s a copy.
Very good catch. I just took both images and made the Matisse 50% transparent and sized both the same. They are very, very close. Enough of a difference that it can’t say it is an exact copy, but the composition theme is almost identical. (you can’t say, for example, that they are just similar because of the golden mean use that many artists start with). I will upload the superimposed image tonight when I have access to one of the upload sites (behind a firewall today).
Looks like someone kidnapped Sherwin Williams and this is the ransom note.
What a great eye you have!