Vincent van Gogh, Flowers in a Blue Vase, 1887; Kröller-Müller Museum.
The various changes seen in the image below suggest that it's a modern reproduction rather than simply an edited photo, but it could be the result of digital tampering. The new version has cropped off the top and bottom of the painting, altered some of the brushwork, and taken liberties with coloring in various spots throughout.
The authentic painting, which is located at the Kröller-Müller Museum, Netherlands, is shown above in the museum's photo. Recent investigation has revealed that the painting itself has lost some of its intensity, and restoration efforts are evidently underway. It isn't clear when the museum's photo was taken in relation to the deterioration of the work, so the image — although more reliable than modern reproductions — might not be entirely consistent with what might be considered the work's true appearance.
Piet Mondriaan (Mondrian), Arum Lilies, 1910; Kunstmuseum den Haag.
The artwork below is obviously a modern reproduction that has randomly changed all the colors in this famous Mondriaan, one of the artist's popular depictions of arum lilies (aäronskelken). A first-hand photo is easily available at the museum's website, yet the purple-tinted version is seen frequently — in fact, more often than the original. There doesn't really appear to be a reason for the revisions, so it's unclear why the changes were made. It would have been just as easy to duplicate the authentic coloring.
Altered version of a painting by Piet Mondriaan.
Henri Matisse, Black Philodendron and Lemons, 1943; © Succession H. Matisse / BONO, Oslo; photo © Øystein Thorvaldsen / Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Norway.
The original of Matisse's Philodendron Noir et Citrons isn't seen often, so the reproduction below is the most well-known version. Unfortunately, a quick comparison shows that the coloring has been changed, and there's a newly imposed yellowish glare, more intense than in the genuine painting. The image above comes from a 2015 exhibition at the HOK in Norway, where the public had a rare opportunity to view the work in person. The show was titled "In Search of Matisse," and, among other things, examined the history of looted art and artifacts, spotlighting another Matisse painting that had recently been the subject of a highly publicized controversy. Based on the museum's press information about the exhibit, it doesn't appear that Citrons was one of the seized paintings. Most likely the piece simply provided additional perspective on Matisse and his work.
Altered version of a painting by Henri Matisse.
Édouard Manet, Still Life With Brioche, 1880; Carnegie Museum of Art.
There's only a small difference between the original (above) and the updated version of Manet's Nature morte à la brioche, but even so, notice the yellowing in the copy. Excessive editing has dulled the pink rose, altered the coloring of various other elements, and obscured a lot of the detail. A more accurate, first-hand photo is easily available at the museum's website.
Altered version of a painting by Edouard Manet.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Spring Bouquet, 1866; Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum.
This is the famous and stunning still life by Renoir, shown above in an excellent photo from the museum where it's located. Sadly, thousands of revised modern copies and photos have been circulating online for years, rarely indicating that they aren't faithful to Renoir's original. Most of the modern versions, like the popular one below, add new colors, remove the subtleties of the original, and ignore much of the gorgeous, Dutch-inspired detail seen in the authentic work. The museum adds an informative note about Spring Bouquet:
For many French artists during the 1860s, the floral still life persisted as a test of pure painterly ability. This exuberant bouquet [...] attests to the artist's engagement with past art historical traditions. He addresses the ennobled Dutch practice of still life through the large scale of his canvas, while his attention to the textures and colors of the arrangement evokes the work of early eighteenth-century French painters like Antoine Watteau and François Boucher.
Altered version of a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
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.
Corrections or suggestions?
Claude Monet, Water Lilies and Agapanthus (Nymphéas et agapanthes), c.1914-17; Musée Marmottan Monet.
The magnificent, watery blues and greens of this beautiful Monet painting have turned purple in the modern reproduction shown below. The original hues can be seen clearly in the first photo above, which comes from a 2012 Monet exhibition at the Sakip Sabanci Müesi, Istanbul. The second image is a page from a book about the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, where the painting is located. Although the contemporary version has made an attempt to mimic the brushwork and overall appearance of the original, the changes in color seem completely random, and reduce the natural, watery effect that is so typical of Monet's water lily paintings.
Altered version of a painting by Claude Monet.
Copywriting & Consultations
Claude Monet, Bouquet of Sunflowers, 1881; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
There are many different versions of Monet's Sunflowers in circulation, but the reproduction below is one of the most extreme. Excessive contrast obscures most of the detail — the leaves have become blobs of black in places — and there are seemingly random color changes throughout. This is a case where an accurate photo is easily available: a quick search on the general phrase "Sunflowers Monet" yields the Met's listing at or near the top. The museum adds the following note:
Van Gogh wrote, "Gauguin was telling me the other day that he's seen a painting by Claude Monet of sunflowers in a large Japanese vase, very fine. But — he likes mine better. I'm not of that opinion."
Altered version of a painting by Claude Monet.
Bloopers, Fakes & Mistakes
Georgia O'Keeffe, White Rose With Larkspur No. 2, 1927; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
There seem to be multiple modern reproductions of this painting, some more faithful to the original than others. The one shown below is an extreme reinterpretation. I'm surprised more people aren't suspicious — the title refers to a white rose, and the rose in this reproduction is yellow, or at best very dingy. The whole picture, in fact, is freely colored with little attention to the authentic work. There are also several versions of a different, presumably earlier composition titled White Rose With Larkspur No. 1, but to date I haven't been able to locate an original source for this alleged precursor. (Additional info welcome.)
Altered version of a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe.
Bloopers, Fakes & Mistakes
Édouard Manet, Roses in a Champagne Glass, 1882; The Burrell Collection.
The severely altered image below could be the result of a digital edit, but it's more likely a recently painted reproduction, with highly imaginative coloring. The Burrell photo is consistent with Manet's other still life paintings, and is more textured, more interesting. Burrell mentions that "Manet was ill for the last two years of his life and gave this painting to a friend as a thank you for bringing him gifts of flowers and sweets."
Altered version of a painting by Édouard Manet.
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