Sam Leach is an award-winning Australian artist who appropriates work. But that hasn’t sat well with the press when it was revealed that his $25,000 prize-winning landscape is a direct copy of a 400-year-old Dutch work:
The Sydney Morning Herald explains the public ire:
Criticism of Leach is focused on his failure to acknowledge the original work in the title of his own. Even the judges did not pick the homage. And much of the criticism of the award now centres on what Leach painted: not an Australian landscape, as befitting the spirit of the Wynne Prize, but an Italian scene in the original.
”I think what Sam did was make a very poor decision in not referencing the work in the title, as a nod to another artist,” says the art market analyst Michael Reid.
But this is no hanging offence, Reid adds. Leach did not set out to deceive, and it was well known that his art practice included appropriations of past works.
Brush with the Past No Hanging Offense (Sydney Morning Herald)