Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Want the Copy of the Copy

Who said Artists can’t make money until they are dead? Spanish art dealer Jose Carlos BergantiƱos Diaz put this myth to rest when he made over $30 million selling art to millionaires. These works of art were merely copies of copies. Can't we say that all artwork is copies of copies? Otherwise, millionaires would not have the same painting by Monet on their mantelpieces, unless they are sharing, but who are we kidding.

Diaz got away with selling copies of famous artwork people for nearly two decades. According to the CNN report written by Catherine E. Shoichet, “he works he sold as Rothkos and Pollocks were fakes painted by an artist he met on a Manhattan street corner.”

The fact that people who bought art from Diaz could not tell a difference from the original and the fake artwork is so interesting to me, because I feel it makes people ask the question: what makes these “famous artists” such as Rothkos and Pollocks so special if a guy on the corner of the street could paint it just the same?”

Here is Rothko's Artwork^

Here's the Forgery ^

After attempting to research the image that was attached to the CNN article, I couldn't find the exact image the the forger was trying to replicate. In fact, I kept having to revert back to the article to see the picture because I kept confusing the real with the fake.

US attorney Preet Bharara said, "Today's charges paint a picture of perpetual lies and greed. As alleged, the defendants tricked victims into paying more than $33 million for worthless paintings which they fabricated in the names of world-famous artists.” I would ask Bharara if these paintings really are worthless?

At this point, I would almost want to buy the art from the Manhattan artist (Pei Shen Qianversus the original artist(s). I think there is more meaning behind the artwork. I applaud and value his work, talent, and trickery. I would pay to visit a museum full of artwork constructed by other artists than the actual Van Gogh or Monet…simply because I think it is interesting that someone can do the same thing someone did 100 years ago and received all of the glory and admiration and credit of such talent.

Artists like Pollocks and Rothkos are admired for their work because it was the “first” (but was it?) and believed to be so unique that their works cannot be replicated (but clearly this is wrong).


  1. Check out this video from CBS news about the exhibit that I went to that featured fakes and forgeries. You would LOVE the exhibit!

  2. I love this! The first thought that comes to mind is that...well...if you enjoy fine art so much and collect it...shouldn't you know if it's real or not? I don't think that Diaz should be faulted at all. I cant even conceive in my mind that this is fraud. I would buy a copy of a copy. Diaz was well played in this "scheme" and I don't even want to call it that. I think this idea is beautiful. I am no artist, I've never created anything then had copies of it made and sold so I can't understand the big deal outside of the artist not making a ton of money from it...but then you have copies of art that the artist is it no longer matters really. This is really interesting. When it comes to things like this, when does the validity really come into play...but then another question...what do we label as okay to make copies of and then not....I am not an artist so I think copying famous art is fabulous especially when you get away with selling it as the real thing...but money or historical relics perhaps not as good? Curious ramblings.


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