Weekend Words: Copy

Federico Zuccaro, “Taddeo Zuccaro Copying the Antique Statues in Rome” (n.d.). Pen and ink and wash, 183 x 425 mm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. (image via Web Gallery of Art)

Has forging Pollocks become the latest in copycat crimes? This week Claire Voon brought to Hyperallergic readers the story of New York painter John Re, who was charged with selling nearly two million dollars’ worth of fake Jackson Pollocks since 2005.

These works, however, were not as cleverly made as the ones by Pei-Shen Qian, whose forgeries of Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning brought down Knoedler Gallery in 2011. Re carelessly used materials that did not exist in Pollock’s day, but apparently the artist’s name was spelled correctly.

“Matisse makes a drawing, then he makes a copy of it. He recopies it five times, ten times, always clarifying the line. He’s convinced that the last, the most stripped down, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and in fact, most of the time, it was the first. In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.”

—Pablo Picasso

“There is a constant in the average American imagination and taste, for which the past must be preserved and celebrated in full-scale authentic copy; a philosophy of immortality as duplication. It dominates the relation with the self, with the past, not infrequently with the present, always with History and, even, with the European tradition.”

—Umberto Eco

“Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac.”

—Oscar Wilde

“When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.”

—Anatole France

“I’ll see a photograph of a character and try to copy them on to my face. I think I’m really observant, and thinking how a person is put together, seeing them on the street and noticing subtle things about them that make them who they are.”

—Cindy Sherman

“Fashion is born by small facts, trends, or even politics, never by trying to make little pleats and furbelows, by trinkets, by clothes easy to copy, or by the shortening or lengthening of a skirt.”

—Elsa Schiaparelli

“Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.”

—Wilson Mizner

“The trouble with America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.”

—Louis Kronenberger

“That’s his style of hitting . If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

—Yogi Berra

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