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I dislike the weird term 'original fakes', which's now prevalent among the buyers and 'connoisseurs' of artworks. Original is original and fake is fake. If one can afford to have an original Botticelli (1445-1510), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) or Max Ernst (1891-1976), it's great but their copies and fakes are just unacceptable

to a cognoscente. How can a fake be original? If one is to adorn the walls of his/her bedroom or drawing room with a master's painting, one must buy the original work. By purchasing a fake one, such buyers do injustice to the masters and lower their level. Years back I saw a painting by the legendary master Peter Paul Reuben at a gentleman's place, who'd fine tastes. I'm no art critic. Neither can I detect very subtle flaws on the canvas. Yet I'd a lurking doubt that the painting was fake. My doubt was confirmed by my late friend and mentor Dr Zaifa Ashraf, who could discern the dull outlines of buttocks of the females nudes in the fake painting. Those who've closely observed Reuben's paintings, know that he drew callipygian (having a fleshy posterior) beauties in the buff, accentuating the outlines of their opulent buttocks. But the painter of the fake wasn't so discerning. Later the gentleman, who owned the painting, admitted to having bought the fake one from a spurious art dealer in Florence, Italy. There're fairly good Indian painters like Ganesh Payne, Ramkinkar Baij (both belonging to Bengal school and Shantiniketan style)  and the great Gaitonde. Their works aren't that costly. Art lovers can buy their paintings. But European masters have always been out of the range of even the affluent people. So, one has to make do with the fake ones, drawn by their clones. You can't eat the cake and have it too.


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