Are Donald Trump’s Art Treasures Actually Fakes?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 7.37.21 PMBrian Boucher

Monday, April 4, 2016

While he brags about their eight-figure valuations, friends of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump are whispering about the French Impressionist paintings he sports in his home and on his plane may be fake.

Which is funny, because Trump himself told a friend that he finds the New York arts crowd phony and elitist, according to the New York Post, which has blown the whistle on the Donald’s supposedly invaluable collection.

The media has had a field day fact-checking Trump’s wild claims, on subjects ranging from his personal worth to whether over a quarter of Muslims worldwide want to go to war with America. And now the lust for accuracy has come to the real estate developer’s art holdings.

The Post indicates that a version of Pierre-Auguste Renoir‘s La Loge adorns Melania Trump’s Trump Tower office. But—sad trombone!—someone close to Trump says that while Trump can appreciate fine art, he prefers higher-return investments, so it may be a copy.

While showing Vanity Fair‘s Mark Bowden around his Boeing 727, Trump bragged that a Renoir hanging on its wall was worth $10 million, pointing to the signature. A Huffington Post blogger also claimed to spot Renoirs, in this case at Trump’s Manhattan home. The current auction record for a Renoir canvas is $78 million, set by Au Moulin de la Galette (1876) at Sotheby’s New York in 1990; the painter’s 1894 oil on canvas Au Théâtre, la loge, sold at Christie’s New York for $6 million in 2008, while that same year, La Loge or L’Avant-Scene sold at Sotheby’s London for £7.4 million (approximately $10 million) to an unidentified buyer.

Other reports, meanwhile, indicate that paintings by jazz singer Tony Bennett hang at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, in Florida. According to the artnet Auction Price Database, the top price paid at auction for a Bennett canvas is $1,000. The princely sum was paid not at a high-profile auction house like Sotheby’s or Christie’s, but rather at Quinn & Farmer in central Virginia.