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Jenny’s fab fake

Thursday, 9th January, 2020

Artist Jenny Cattonar with her copy of French artist Farncois-Auguste Biard’s 1839 piece ‘Fight with Polar Bears.’ PICTURE: Callum Marshall Artist Jenny Cattonar with her copy of French artist Farncois-Auguste Biard’s 1839 piece ‘Fight with Polar Bears.’ PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Broken Hill artist Jenny Cattonar has taken out second prize in the ‘Fab Fakes’ art competition with a stunning copy of French painter Francois-Auguste Biard’s 1839 piece ‘Fight with Polar Bears’.

The competition, which was judged in November, took place in Wyong on the New South Wales Central coast and is run by the Tuggerah Lakes Art Society.

Jenny, who’s been painting for nearly 40 years, said her ‘Fab Fake’ of Biard’s piece was the fourth time she’d entered into the ‘Fab Fakes’ competition, which she won in 2009 and finished runner up in in 2017.

She said she decided to copy ‘Fight with Polar Bears’ because of the action displayed within the piece.

“Most people paint still life or flowers or women or children,” said Jenny. “And I think that (Auguste’s painting) had a lot of action in it and I love it myself.

“If I don’t sell it I don’t mind, but I think it will sell. 

“(But) I thought I would get somewhere (with it) because it’s so different. 

“I tried to pick something different every year and the one I’m doing for this year is Court Jesters Playing Bowls (by Spanish painter Eduardo Zamacois y Zabala.)”

Jenny said it had been difficult to try to match the colours used in the original painting.

“I just tried to match the colours as much as I can with the modern paints,” she said.

“They would’ve used probably grounded pigment and all that sort of thing, which I wouldn’t be bothered doing. 

“With the new paints now you can match the colours. 

“It’s just very difficult to get the right colour (though.)”

She said she enjoyed entering the ‘Fab Fakes’ competition because of the challenge it presented.

“People say ‘it’s a copy’ but it’s much harder to do a copy than what it is to do an original,” she said.

“Ok you have to come up with the idea ... (but with the copy) you have to match every single stroke.

“I mean I do animals quite well when I do it my way, but (it’s difficult) when I do it this way with very little strokes.

“That took me twelve months to paint between other works.”

She said the most difficult parts to copy were the animals, sea and icecaps.

“They were difficult because we’re not used to seeing that sort of thing, are we?” 

Jenny was also up against impressive competition in the prize, with the winner a copy of Giacono Grosso’s ‘La Femme’ by Philip Meatchem, an Archibald Prize finalist in 2017.

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