Dear editor,

It is a sad state of affairs when “the most exciting young painter in town” (“Original Spin,” Reader, March 10) is reproducing, however precisely and artfully, other well-known artists’ masterpieces. Critics may expound on the fascinating technique and uniqueness of this appropriation, but it shows little true creativity. These copies seem to possibly qualify as highly finished “studies,” a legitimate tool for painting students. Walter Andersons has turned himself (based on your article) into a human Xerox machine or camera.

Is the artist willing to pay royalties to the other artists, their estates, Artists Rights Society and to museums for reproducing, exhibiting, and selling unauthorized copies of their work and possibly profiting from it? Is originality of content, subject matter and composition valued in artistic works or is it just something to rip off? I am sure that the heirs of the Picasso estate and their representatives, for example, would want a percentage of the sale of an Andersons version of a Picasso artwork.

Trompe l’oeil is not “almost archaic.” I would say writing on clay tablets is archaic. Trompe l’oeil requires a high level of skill and ability that few contemporary artists have or can achieve. It’s too bad that it’s not being used to create completely new images.


Cisley Celmer