When we read a book we like to meet places that are somehow related to the book. When we read Loving Frank, for example, we decided to meet at Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park. For Caveat Emptor we decided to hit The Art Institute Of Chicago and see if we could find some of the artists Perenyi forged.
Twenty four hours before we met I tweeted @perenyi_ken to let home know what we were up to in hopes that he would tweet back. He did not. Sigh. But that means now I can talk shit about his forging because he probably won’t check out the tweet I compose about this blog.
With the Art Institute’s map and App in our hands we first headed to The Early American Art gallery and found a Peto, a couple Heades, and a Sargent.
Here we are in front of a Heade.
Rachel and I had both downloaded the book on our devices and didn’t find the examples of Perenyi’s work until we finished the book because they are at the end. “If I knew that’s what he was describing while I was reading I wouldn’t have been so impressed,”remarked Rachel. I agreed. Many well known Early American artists and works sought out by collectors (who pay high prices) really aren’t that good if you are expecting super realism or quality comparable to Winslow Homer. I think the reason Perenyi, who is a self taught artist, was able to replicate works so well was for two reasons: 1. He was a genius about using authentic materials and making new paint look old. Much of his labor went into creating authentically old looking paintings. 2. As a beginner painter he knew he had to choose artists whose abilities matched his.
I kind of wanted to walk around more and point out my favorite European artists and explain why they were important. But when I had to talk Dora and Rachel into seeing the Magritte exhibit and they finished it in ten minutes (it took me an hour to get through it) that was my first clue that they were reaching their end. Dora kept texting and looking at her phone, they seemed unimpressed by my pointing out the beauty of the architecture in the museum, and I’m sure Rachel’s feet under her very pregnant belly were killing her. I had to realize my friends were just not as into it as I am and get the out of there. So, we wrapped things up and found a place to feed us salad.
The Art Institute of Chicago