The word 'fake' has become almost synonymous with US President Donald Trump through his attacks on the press. However, it seems he does not have a very good eye for spotting a counterfeit, at least when it comes to a particular Renoir painting hanging at the Trump Tower.
The Chicago Institute of Art has issued a statement pointing out that the 1881 painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, titled "Two Sisters (On the Terrace)", hanging at Trump's New York property, is a copy. The museum asserted that the original is in their possession and has been for over eight decades.
The institute is "satisfied that our version is real", spokeswoman Amanda Hicks told the Chicago Tribune. The Renoir was gifted to the Art Institute in 1933 by Annie Swan Coburn, who purchased it for $100,000 (£76,000) from the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who purchased it from the artist himself in 1881, Hicks explained.
The museum was pushed to confirm their possession of the original following a recent interview with Trump biographer Tim O'Brien who recalled how the real estate mogul assured him that his Renoir was the real one while the institute had the fake.
O'Brien first saw the painting on Trump's jet. "I asked him about the painting and Donald said, 'It's an original Renoir.' And I said, 'No, it's not, Donald,'" he recalled in a Vanity Fair podcast.
"I grew up in Chicago. That Renoir is called 'Two Sisters on a Terrace' and it's hanging on a wall at The Art Institute of Chicago. That's not an original,'" O'Brien told Trump.
O'Brien previously faced a $5bn defamation lawsuit from Trump after the TrumpNation author estimated the businessman to be worth only $150m as opposed to billions. He does not bother mincing his words when talking about the president and opined that Trump probably "believes his own lies".
"I'm sure he's still telling people who come into the apartment, 'It's an original, it's an original,'" he said. "He'll tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face."
Following the report of the fake Renoir, a Twitter user pointed out another painting by the same artist, hanging in First Lady Melania Trump's office. "He has another fake Renoir in Melania's office, the original is in the Courtauld Gallery in London," the individual wrote alongside the link to the London gallery.