“People believe whatever they want to believe,” explains Christian Bale while standing before a forged Rembrandt portrait in American Hustle. This is especially true with President Donald Trump’s claims about original artwork.
An impressionistic painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that the president asserted resided in his apartment in Trump Tower actually hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. A spokeswoman for the museum confirmed to NBC Chicago that Renoir’s “Two Sisters (On the Terrace)” has been part of the Art Institute’s collection since 1933. The painting was given to the museum in 1933 by Annue Swan Corburn, who had bought it from Paul Durand-Ruel for $100,000. Ruel had acquired the piece from the artist himself in 1881.
While working on his 2005 book, “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” biographer Tim O’Brien first saw the painting hanging in the current president’s private jet. When questioned about its authenticity, Trump insisted it was legitimate, O’Brien told Vanity Fair this month.
“Donald, it’s not. 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,” O’Brien recalled telling Trump. “That’s not an original.”
Years later, after Trump won the presidency, the painting turned up in a 60 Minutes interview conducted in Trump Tower.
Now, who’s the master? The painter, the forger, or the president who once passed it off as the real thing?