Is Donald Trump's Renoir a fake?

CHICAGO • An American museum has cast doubt on United States President Donald Trump's reported claim to possess an original Renoir - revealing that it has owned the Impressionist painting in question for the past 84 years.

According to a former Trump biographer, Mr Trump claims to own the original Two Sisters (On The Terrace), an oil-on-canvas painted by French master Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1881.

But the Art Institute Of Chicago begs to differ. "I'm happy to confirm that it is in our collection," said museum spokesman Amanda Hicks. "We are proud and grateful to be able to share this exceptional painting with our 1.5 million visitors each year."

An identical work, which Mr Trump asserted to be the original, was displayed in his private jet and seen as recently as last year inside his New York home, according to biographer Tim O'Brien.

He told Vanity Fair magazine earlier this month he saw the painting while conducting interviews for his 2005 book TrumpNation: The Art Of Being The Donald. The biographer, whom Mr Trump unsuccessfully sued for asserting that his net worth was as low as US$150 million (S$200 million), corrected the self-proclaimed billionaire.

"It clearly was a knock-off," O'Brien told the magazine's Hive podcast.

Mr Trump claims to own the original Two Sisters (On The Terrace) by Renoir.
Mr Trump claims to own the original Two Sisters (On The Terrace) by Renoir. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He added that he told Mr Trump: "I grew up in Chicago... That's not an original."

Mr Trump continued to insist that his painting was authentic, said O'Brien.

The White House did not immediately respond on Monday to a request for comment.

The Chicago museum lists the Renoir as having been donated in 1933 by a local art collector who had bought it from a Paris art dealer.

The latter had purchased it from the artist himself in 1881.

This is not the first authenticity controversy to dog the real estate mogul-turned-President.

In June, Time magazine reportedly asked the Trump Organisation to remove from display a fake magazine cover featuring Mr Trump's face adorned with flattering headlines.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Is Donald Trump's Renoir a fake?'. Print Edition | Subscribe