Le Bateau (“The Boat”) by Henri Matisse, caused a minor stir when the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which housed it, hung the work upside-down for 47 days in 1961 until Genevieve Habert, a stockbroker, noticed the mistake and notified a guard.
Students at Oberlin College can rent original paintings by Picasso, Monet, and Dalí (among others) to hang in their dorm rooms for $5 per semester. On top of the $5 each student has to cough up, only a minimal liability agreement is signed, although the full consequences for damaging a work are unknown to the renters.
There is the art movement called Accidentalism, in which a portrait is painted first, and only after the work is done a person is looked for that looks like the one in the painting. There are still portraits that have not found a subject yet.
After cutting off his ear, Vincent van Gogh painted a portrait of the doctor who treated him, then gave it to the doctor. The doctor hated it and used it to repair a chicken coop before giving it away. It’s now worth $50 million.
The figure in “The Scream” isn’t actually screaming; he’s listening to a scream passing through nature.
The mysterious baroque painter Johannes Gumpp is known to have painted only one self portrait which also happens to be a triple self portrait in which he appears from behind painting his own face reflected in a mirror.
Belgian artist Mikes Poppe recently chained himself to a four-ton block of marble and then attempted to free himself by chiseling away at it. His goal was to demonstrate how the “inescapable burden of history” imprisons artists.
Nineteen days later he gave up and asked to be freed, admitting that he had “underestimated the marble.” Despite this, he said, “I don’t see that as a failure… On the contrary. I have been able to communicate with the public. I am now going to read the many comments in the guestbook and take a warm bath.”
In 1964 paintings by a chimpanzee were displayed in a Swedish art gallery pseudonym “Pierre Brasau”, supposedly an unknown french artist. The paintings were praised by critics, one of which went as far as to say “Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”
Visual Arts student Berk Ilhan has created a mirror that will only work if you smile. His idea was that this would help cheer up cancer patients by forcing them to smile. He’s hoping to sell these for between $2000 and $3000 each. So far, the reaction to his invention has been, shall we say, not positive.
The forgery artist Wolfgang Beltracchi, rather than copying existing artwork, created brand new pieces in the style of famous artists. His forgeries have sold for over $45 million dollars. He signed his paintings in the famous artists’ names, came up with an elaborate backstory as to why the paintings had been hidden away so long, and even went to great lengths to use period appropriate materials. Beltracchi even forged labels from a legitimate German art dealer and stained them with coffee to make them look old and legitimate. Then he would attach them to the back of the canvases. He eventually got caught when he used a paint that contained the pigment “Titanium White”, which wasn’t available/used in the period the paintings would have been created.