What Does Authenticity In Art Mean In 2020?

Montana Alexander, Partner at Heather James Fine Art New York chatted with Artichek about authenticity in art, looking at the recent news that some of Edward Hopper’s earliest paintings are actually copies he made from a how-to art magazine.

The discovery came to light thanks to Louis Shadwick, a graduate student at the Courtauld Institute in London. By referring back to old copies of Art Interchange, Shadwick identified three paintings that were copies of works featured in the magazine along with instructions of how amateur artists could reproduce them.

Old Ice Pond at Nyack, one of the early works painted by Hopper while he was honing his skills, is currently being sold by Heather James Fine Art at a price tag of $300,000 to $400,000. As Montana shares, the discovery brings up a number of questions. Does this change our perception of Hopper as an American original artist? How is the value of the work affected? The answers depend on our own individual understanding of authenticity.