Ken Perenyi in his studio
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Tampa Bay Times / St. Petersburg Times /
Forgery or Flattery?
An artist paints and sells copies of original masterpieces. Should this copycat be in business?

What would the Impressionists think of Ken Perenyi’s artworks? The artist paints reproductions of masterpieces like Monet’s haystacks.

For decades, Perenyi fooled the art world with his look-alikes. When he first sold a painting as an original, he became addicted to the thrill—and the lifestyle. He made a fortune. One of his forgeries sold for more than $700,000 at auction.

But then the FBI began to investigate. Perenyi was never charged with a crime, but he changed the way he did business. Now, he openly sells his paintings as reproductions—for a fraction of the price. He says all buyers are required to sign a form confirming they understand the work is a reproduction.

People who can’t afford an original are happy to buy Perenyi’s reproductions. But some critics say greedy dealers will still try to sell the copies as originals. They say Perenyi shouldn’t be allowed to sell the copies at all.

Perenyi defends his work, saying that the great painters were businessmen too. They made multiple copies of their work, often hiring assistants for the job.

“I’m convinced that if these artists were alive today, they would thank me,” Perenyi said in his recently published memoir. “I understand and appreciate their work.”

What do you think? Should Perenyi be in business?

Those are AMAZING. He should be able to sell his paintings!
Posted by: Jazzy J. | November 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM
I think he should be in business. It is actually right that ancient creators and even widely known artists made several copies of their own paintings. It is not fair for him.
Posted by: Mariana . | November 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM
He should not sell them. He should go to jail. Justice!
Posted by: daninT . | November 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM
It is forgery. He can make money from others paintings.
Posted by: Davin T. | November 28, 2012 at 6:42 PM
He should be in business, but he should sign his name on the paintings.
Posted by: Fay K. | December 11, 2012 at 2:26 PM
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I would not want another artist capitalizing off of my original ideas. He should go struggle with his/her own.
Posted by: Evelyn N. | January 3, 2013 at 2:55 PM
13 students support his current practice of selling his work as reproductions. 4 students suggest the artist should create original works to sell.
Posted by: Boyles A. | January 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM
Yes he should be able to sell his artwork. But he should claim them as his own.
Posted by: Ed J. | January 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM
What a joke. If he wants to make money, he should create his own art instead of copying someone eles.
Posted by: Alyssa M. | February 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM
I think that if he is going to reproduce famous artwork he should at least sign his name on the front. He might be a more successful artist if he used his talent to make his own, original artwork. I also think that he should get the permission of the artist. This may be a problem if the artist is dead though. Overall I think that he should sell his artwork but make it very clear that it is not original.
Posted by: Steven P. | February 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM
Mr. Perenyi paints replicas of famous people and should not be punished just because his buyers might sell his pieces as forgery. He paints them to show respect to our historical people that changed the way we live today. Perenyi does not have any control over what his buyers do with his paintings. Perenyi actually makes them sign a paper saying the piece there buying is a replica. So all in all i think this is flattery not forgery.
Posted by: Chelsie T. | February 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM
This is the stupidest thing ever. He made a living off of reproducing famous artwork. This is plain out forgery! This guy isn't even giving the original artist a portion of the profits. He should't be able to sell them, he should go to jail for forging FAMOUS artwork.
Posted by: Jordan L. | February 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM
i think it's flattery that someone would copy your art. If they copy your art it means its good enough to copy. It also means that they liked it enough to copy it. I think he should be able to sell his art work.
Posted by: Maria C. | February 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM
I think if he wants to be a real artist he should just make his own art instead of copying other peoples art that way he couldn't get in trouble from copying peoples art. Also if he made his own art and it was really good then he would be making a lot more money.
Posted by: isaiah a. | February 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM
I think this is forgery. The artists back then did make copies yes, but it was their work and they can do with their work. Was he not in an art class where one of the biggest lessons is to not copy anothers work as your own? Plagerism. I think that he is trying to get money in the easiest way poissible and growing up in a place where you do your own work I believe he should go to jail. Not only is he taking anothers work but he also had ripped those people off calling it original. Do we not send people to jail every day for doing the same thing but to money?
Posted by: Kathryn J. | February 27, 2013 at 3:37 PM
I think its flattery if somebody would actaully steal your artwork. Which means he obvisoully cares about your art work if hes going to steal your idea.
Posted by: Jared V. | February 27, 2013 at 3:37 PM
I do think perenyi should stay in business because he makes people sign a form saying that they know its a copy weather or not the buyer tells his/her friends is up to them not the artists.He needs to make a living so why not let him?you may call it a copy but i think its honaring the artist not a copy.wouldnt you be honored if someone loved your artwork so much that they wanted to recreate it?
Posted by: kalie e. | February 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM
Perenyi is a reproductive artist. He creates artwork that is replicas of famous paintings. I don't agree that his is making forgeries; I think his is making value artwork. The customers have to sign a waiver agreeing that they are not buying an original that is a clear way of showing he is not trying to trick his customers rather reproducing great art
Posted by: Valory M. | February 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM
What a joke. If he wants to make money, he should create his own art instead of copying someone eles.
Posted by: Alyssa M. | February 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM
I do not believe that this is foregery. I mean if you think about it.... it is his own art work personally, its just the same art piece. The guy did paint it with his own hands.
Posted by: Alisia S. | March 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM
I think that this guy should keep working on painting reproductions. If I was him I would do the same thing but probably not sell it as the real thing. I think that he should still do paintings only if he doesn't sell it for the reall paintings. He is a skilled pianter and should keep fallow his dreams.
Posted by: Gabe M. | March 5, 2013 at 3:13 PM
i think he should go to jail if th FBI had not have investegated him he would probably selling fakes as reals still and get tons of money this man belongs behind bars and he should have to give back every penny of money he took back to the people who bought his fakes.
Posted by: Destiny B. | March 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM
The Paintings are not from this guys thoughts, they are not his own. If I was the artist I would be very upset, for the original is no longer one of a kind. This Man is also making a profit off of someone else’s career. THIS IF FORGERY, he has no permission, not paying the artist or his descendents any part of the profit, and he fooled some unfortunate people out of their money. In conclusion he may not get fined, for what done is done, but he should be told to stop making the paintings.
Posted by: Bethany M. | March 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM
As convincing as the opposite is, I fully believe that the artist should be able to sell these paintings. They are great and many would love to buy them, they do not take away the glamor of predecessors and if people don't want them, they don't have to buy them.
Posted by: Aaron P. | March 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM
I think there's nothing wrong what this man is doing, I kind of think is a good way. Making the same exact paintings and selling them cheaper, could help those who wanted the paintings but could never afford to buy it. There's a reason why Perenyi still sells the paintings, if law wanted to removed they could but maybe the public don't have such a problem after all. At least he's giving credit to the real artist who are long gone, and plays it fair. So my overall decision would be, I think they should let Perenyi run his business.
Posted by: Savannah L. | March 12, 2013 at 2:50 PM
I think what he is doing is fine. As long as the buyer understands that the art work is not an original copy. I do think though, that there should have been some sort of consequence when he sold the fake work as real peices. It is a crime and it's not fair to people who have been punished for it that he got off for free. It's also not fair to the people he sold the work to.
Posted by: Nicholas H. | March 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM
I honestly wouldn't mind if I was the artist.
Posted by: Chris D. | October 15, 2013 at 2:08 PM

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