The artist announced on Twitter yesterday that his artwork was “fake art”, in an attempt to “make Trump small again”. He continued in a later Tweet: “Redacting Ivanka’s portrait was an honest choice between right and wrong. Right is art. Wrong is no art. The Trumps are no art.”
The artwork was sold to Ivanka Trump in November 2014. It depicts an Instagram selfie of Ivanka taken earlier that year, in which she is getting her make-up done before a shoot. To make things even more meta, Ivanka uploaded another Instagram selfie where she stands next to the artwork. “To #selfie or not to #selfie..pondering one of life’s great questions!! Thank you @richardprince1234. I <3 it!” reads the caption.
Ivanka Trump is known for her love of contemporary art. Her collection, often shown on her Instagram account, boasts pieces from cutting-edge artists including Dan Colen and Christopher Wool.
Like Ivanka’s famous dad, Richard Prince is no stranger to controversy. He is notorious in the art world and beyond for having stolen Instagram photos from other users’ accounts and claiming them as his own artwork. The “art troll” took several photos from the Suicide Girls feed in particular, with his printed paintings fetching up to $90,000.
More recently, an Instagram model filed a lawsuit against Prince for breach of copyright after he included one of her photos in his highly publicised New Portraits series. It is the fourth copyright claim launched against the artist to date.
According to the New York Times, Prince claimed that an unnamed art advisor asked him to make a painting based on one of Ivanka Trump’s Instagram posts in 2014. He said: “I found an image of her that looked like it was made up. It looked like the kind of thing I was interested in.”
On Wednesday, Prince said that he returned the original price of the painting to the advisor who commissioned it. Another Manhattan art expert quoted by the NYT believed that this sudden political action might increase the work’s value in the long term.