A famed impressionist painting has been hanging in the Art Institute of Chicago for nearly 100 years, the museum confirmed Wednesday, despite a recent report that President Donald Trump claims to be in possession of the original.
French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s "Two Sisters (On the Terrace)," an oil on canvas painting depicting a young woman and a child surrounded by vegetation on a patio, has been part of the Art Institute’s collection since 1933, spokeswoman Amanda Hicks confirmed to NBC Chicago.
In an interview on Vanity Fair’s podcast "The Hive," Trump biographer and Chicago native Tim O’Brien discussed the painting controversy. O’Brien wrote the 2005 book, “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” which chronicles the now president’s empire as an entrepreneur and reality star.
While working on the book several years ago, O’Brien accompanied Trump on his private jet on a trip to Los Angeles — where he first saw the painting hanging. When questioned about its authenticity, Trump insisted it was the real deal, O’Brien said.
"Donald, it's not. I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called 'Two Sisters on the Terrace,' and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago,” O’Brien recalled telling Trump. “That’s not an original.”
Trump refused to yield his position, O’Brien said, so the biographer dropped the conversation and moved on to other topics.
Years later, however, O’Brien noted to Vanity Fair the painting could be seen in the background of a “60 Minutes” interview in Trump’s New York City apartment after he was elected president in 2016.
“I’m sure he’s still telling people who come into the apartment, ‘It’s an original, it’s an original,’” O’Brien said on the podcast.
The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment and a tweet sent to the president’s account was not responded to.
Hicks declined to comment on O’Brien’s reporting.
The Renoir was given to the museum in 1933 by Annue Swan Corburn, who had bought it from Paul Durand-Ruel for $100,000. Ruel had acquired the piece from Renoir himself in 1881.
Trump sued O’Brien in 2006 for defamation over the book but a superior court judge in New Jersey dismissed the suit in 2009. An appeals court affirmed that decision two years later.