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Filipino artist’s painting gets misrepresented as famous painter Van Gogh’s masterpiece

Los Baños, Laguna-based artist Paul Hilario’s painting, “Toil Today Dream Tonight” is being misrepresented as that of famous Dutch painter Van Gogh, which has left the artist disappointed.

The painting depicts a Filipino theme of farmers hard at work in the rice fields as the sun shined brightly on the horizon.

For people not familiar with Dutch painter Van Gogh’s art pieces, they may fail to realize Van Gogh had painted wheat fields and not the rice fields. 

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Filipino painter came to know about the mistaken attribution in 2019 after an artist-friend posted a photo on Facebook standing in front of a replica of the painting. “Toil Today Dream Tonight” which was turned into a photo-op background.

Later Paul Hilario came across his artwork used in different countries sold as a cellphone cover, T-shirt, downloadable image and mass reproduced in China.

Some people continued to credit the work as that of Van Gogh, although Filipino artist earlier called out one company that used the painting in the Philippines and they apologized on its use.

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About the work being mass-produced in countries like China, Paul was not sure he can afford the possible legal battles.

“ Van Gogh never made rice fields,” he said, adding his work was “pale in comparison to Vincent’s.”

“Toil Today Dream Tonight” was commissioned by Filipino professor, Dr. Hernando Ombao of UC Irvine in the US in 2013 and the professor discovered Paul online who was already creating pieces inspired by Van Gogh’s style at that time. (AW)

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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