Trump’s Fake Renoir

Two Sisters (On the Terrace), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1881

Author Tim O’Brien in a recent Vanity Fair article recounted an incident that occurred while he was researching his 2005 book, Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald. O’Brien was riding with Trump on his airplane to LA. He spied the painting “Two Sisters” on the wall and asked the Donald if it was an original. To which Trump affirmed that it was. From Chicago, O’Brien challenged Trump, because the original hangs in the Chicago Art Institute and has since 1933 or thirteen years before Trump was born. On the return flight Trump introduced the painting to O’Brien again, as an original and as if the previous day’s conversation had never occurred. Time passed, Trump was elected president and in his first post-election interview with Sixty Minutes, the fake Renoir can be seen in the background of his Trump Tower apartment. This story is comical, but is also emblematic of Trump’s sad and bizarre essence. The very arbitrator of fake news is the biggest fake of them all. 

Christina’s World

Christina’s World, Andrew Wyeth, 1948

“Christina’s World” is artist’s Andrew Wyeth most famous painting. It shows a woman looking away from the viewer and looking towards a distant farmhouse, while lying in a tawny grass field. Christina, a real person, was actually crawling through the field, because she could no longer walk, because she suffered from a degenerative nerve disease. She was Wyeth’s long time Maine neighbor and was in her late fifties when she was painted and lived for another twenty years afterwards. Years after her death, upon his death, Wyeth was buried at the foot of the pictured hill, fulfilling his request “to be near Christina.”

It is painted in the style known as magic realism, where everyday scenes are imbued with poetic mystery. In the painting, Christina appears to be younger than she was. She also appears isolated, where even her home, the distant farmhouse looks far away. Initially, the picture paints a bleak and lonely picture, but learning Christina’s background recasts this artwork into one of human struggle and determination. MoMA has always owned this painting, but chooses to display it in a busy hallway and not a gallery. One’s viewing is distracted, with all of the passing people. Its location does not to the work justice.

Turning from Christina and Wyeth’s world of magical realism to Anne’s real world, finds her ever busy with her third graders. Highlights from this week include a visit by a delegation of Indianapolis teachers and a field trip to Powell and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra played a sports themed concert for the hall full of kids. Highlights included the Blues hockey team’s mascot conducting the symphony in a recital of the Saint Louis Blues March, a reading of Casey at the Bat and the playing of various baseball standards.