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Art Imitates Art

Sometimes copyists adorn our bodies, other times they decorate our walls.

The remarkable Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator sent the following item from the Economist:

A golden figure in Tokyo’s art world has been stripped of one of Japan’s most prestigious prizes. Yoshihiko Wada, a 66-year-old artist, had staged an acclaimed exhibition of oil paintings in Tokyo last year and this spring won Japan's Art Encouragement Prize for his work. But after two months of basking in considerable glory, Mr Wada surrendered the prize in May amid an investigation by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs that his paintings, which depict urban Italian life, might plagiarise the work of Alberto Sughi, an Italian artist.

The panel that awards the prize reconvened to decide whether Mr Wada’s paintings too closely resembled those of Mr Sughi. After just two hours of deliberations, the panel concluded that the likeness was too strong to be ignored. Mr Wada denied plagiarism but returned the prize “to protect its honour”.

According to the BBC, Wada claimed that the two artists had inspired each other.  Sughi, however, said that he thought Wada, who visited Sughi's studio several times and took photos, was a tourist.

Compare Sughi's "Piano Bar, Italia" (1996), top, with Wada's "Muso" (Reverie) (2004). 

Alberto Sughi, Piano Bar, Italia (1996)

Yoshihiko Wada, Muso (Reverie) (2004)

I'm no expert, but it looks like Wada's got the blues.  (Yes, groan.)

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