Dylan was reportedly inspired by his travels to the Far East for this paintings, but The New York Times reports that art critics are raising their eyebrows and are calling the paintings direct copies of photographs that are from the 20th century and are widely available. Case in point: Dylan’s ‘Trade,’ which is said to be influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photo from 1948. The similarities are striking. If you view both images, they look like two slightly different renderings of the same scene.
The Gagosian issued a statement on the matter on Monday, saying: “While the composition of some of Bob Dylan’s paintings is based on a variety of sources, including archival, historic images, the paintings’ vibrancy and freshness come from the colors and textures found in everyday scenes he observed during his travels.”
Dylan himself isn’t forthcoming when questioned about his sources of inspiration. In the exhibition’s catalog, Dylan said, “I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that. Real people, real street scenes, behind the curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs, staged setups, architecture, grids, graphic design.
Whatever it takes to make it work. What I’m trying to bring out in complex scenes, landscapes or personality clashes, I do it in a lot of different ways. I have the cause and effect in mind from the beginning to the end. But it has to start with something tangible.”