Paul Klee, Glance Out of the Red, 1937; Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
Although the reproduction below has copied the shapes and figures in the Klee pastel shown above, the colors don't match the original. In fact, the new coloration seems almost entirely reimagined. A modern interpretation — no matter how farfetched — is perfectly acceptable, but to avoid misleading viewers, such a piece should include a label announcing that it's a new work "after" the original artist. The photo above comes from a 2009 exhibition called Paul Klee, Carpet of Memory, at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
Altered version of a pastel by Paul Klee.
Vincent van Gogh, Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, 1884; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
The altered image below appears to be a modern reproduction, with a lot of added orange. The original Avenue of Poplars in Autumn is more natural in appearance, with a darker, low-key feel, perhaps more representative of a Van Gogh autumn. The modern version brightens everything up, not necessarily the artist's intention.
Altered version of a painting by Vincent van Gogh.
Pablo Picasso, Le Rêve (Figure Dormant, Fond Bleu), 1935; © Succession H. Matisse; photo credit: © Bertrand Prévost - Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Dist. RMN-GP.
There are relatively few elements in this Picasso painting, which makes it a good candidate for a modern reproduction. Even so, if the sketchy version below is a recently created copy, the contemporary artist clearly wasn't able to capture the essential quality of the original. The newer version might also be the result of an extreme photo edit, but in any case, the authentic work glows with a soft, dreamlike quality — so fitting to the subject — that the modern version lacks. Usually called Le Rêve (The Dream), this piece is also known as Figure Dormant, Fond Bleu (Sleeping Figure With a Blue Background).
Altered version of a painting by Pablo Picasso.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Two Sisters (On the Terrace), 1881; Art Institute of Chicago.
There's something special about an original Renoir — the sophisticated execution, the exquisite flesh tones, the quality of color, the emotion and sense of place. Sadly, the recently spotted reproduction below obscures all of these elements. The way that Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is intended to be seen and felt is expressed by notes from the Art Institute of Chicago, where the work is located:
Technically, the painting is a tour de force: Renoir juxtaposed solid, almost life-size figures against a landscape that — like a stage set — seems a realm of pure vision and fantasy. The sewing basket in the left foreground evokes a palette, holding the bright, pure pigments that the artist mixed, diluted, and altered to create the rest of the painting. Although the girls were not actually sisters, Renoir's dealer showed the work with this title, [along with others] at the seventh Impressionist exhibition in 1882.
Altered version of a painting by Auguste Renoir.
Daniel Garber, Shadows, 1922; private collection. Photo © Freeman's Auctions.
One of Daniel Garber's greatest assets was his ability to manipulate shadow and light, and to communicate in an almost visceral way the feel of the outdoors, the weather, the seasons, and the effect of the air itself on the figures and objects in his paintings. Shadows is a wonderful example, The image above is from Freeman's Auctions, where the painting sold in June 2015 for $209,000. Clearly, the modern reproduction shown below has entirely missed the point of the work, and has introduced radical colors that have nothing to do with the artist's original intentions. Furthermore, the high contrast and flat coloring also reduce the depth, space and lifelike atmosphere seen in the authentic painting.
Highly altered version of a painting by Daniel Garber.
Vincent van Gogh, Vase With Gladioli and Chinese Asters," 1886; Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands.
The modern reproduction seen below isn't much different from the original Van Gogh seen above, but it's interesting due to the fact that it can be traced back to the company that first produced it. The contemporary artist took some liberties with the coloring, brightened it up here and there, and seems to have made a good attempt at mimicking the brushwork. Although the copy of Vase With Gladioli and Chinese Asters does look similar to the real painting, it seem to me that it should be identified as a reproduction regardless. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. The last image below was spotted during the research for this post. Same reproduction, but the photo has been reversed.
Modern reproduction of a painting by Vincent van Gogh.
Modern reproduction, reversed, of a painting by VIncent van Gogh.
Édouard Manet, Le Bon Bock, 1873; The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Such gorgeous, realistic detail in the original Manet painting, very engaging and impressive. Not so with the first version below, which is literally a pale imitation — possibly an overexposed photo. The second image below adds an unnatural, yellow tinge, removing the wonderful flesh tones of the original and changing the coloration of the composition as a whole. In addition, excess contrast has erased a lot of the small, superb touches that bring Le Bon Bock to life in the authentic work.
Poor photo or reproduction of a painting by Edouard Manet.
Altered version of a painting by Edouard Manet.
Corrections or suggestions?
Odilon Redon (1840-1916), The Road to Peyrelebade, [nd]; © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Christian Jean.
This beautiful Redon painting is definitely misrepresented by the altered version below. The modern copy, probably an overly edited digital image, has introduced a lot of artificial color, along with excessive contrast that has blotted out much of the original detail. Natural scenes of this period usually retain some aspects of real life — including natural hues, earth tones, greenery, and so on — even if the composition is somewhat abstract. Dark blotches and false colors are good indications that the image might not be entirely accurate.
Altered version of a painting by Odilon Redon.
Frank Weston Benson, Eleanor, 1907; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This is Frank Weston Benson's portrait of his daughter Eleanor. The photo above is from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where the work is located. The museum's photo really doesn't need any improvements, but sadly, altered versions such as the one below have been seen in circulation. The digitally revised image clearly suffers from too much contrast and sharpening. Everything looks sketchy, there are blotches where there used to be detail, and changes have flattened rather than enhanced the sense of open space and distance. Excessive editing has also reduced the beautiful naturalism of the work, obscuring much of the artist's handling of light, color and detail. The museum notes that the artist "used a small brush to define Eleanor's features, painting her realistically with an authentic sense of weight and volume."
Altered version of a painting by Frank Weston Benson
Camille Pissarro, Entrance to the Village of Voisins, 1872; © Musée d'Orsay.
The original of this Pissarro painting is beautifully naturalistic, full of subtlety and life. Its carefully composed view — titled in French "Entrée du Village de Voisins" — gives you a sort of "you are there" sensation, as though you can almost smell the earth, and feel the coolness of the air. Sadly, the oddly colored, quickly executed reproduction shown below lacks all of these qualities, and fails to capture the depth, emotion, and seasonal details of the authentic work.
Altered reproduction of a painting by Camille Pissarro.
Corrections or suggestions?
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