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?