My spam folder is kept full each day with at least 400 emails.. day after day.. and among the promises of lengthened manhood and pre-approved loans are emails with titles like “Cheap China Wholesale Paintings” and “Oil Paintings from China.”
I have also heard from angry contemporary artists wanting to expose Chinese art factories for ripping off their art and profiting from it.
So, even though I don’t know much about these Chinese painting factories, I don’t think very highly of them. Being a spammer or ripping off working artists is no way to build respect.
Most of the famous painting reproductions of new and old masters coming out of China come from Dafen, the Art Factory Village in southern China.
James Fallows of the Atlantic says “in one sprawling area are many hundreds of individual art factories, in which teams of artists crank out hand-painted replicas of any sort of picture you can imagine. European old masters. Andy Warhol. Gustav Klimt. Classic Chinese landscapes. Manet. Audubon. Botero. The super-hot and faddish contemporary Chinese artist Yue Minjun, whose paintings and sculptures all feature people wearing enormous grins.” The Atlantic
Evan Osnos at the Chicago Tribune talks more about the art village of Dafen in China. “In tiny garrets and vast factories, a few centuries’ worth of art emerges each day in the southern Chinese town of Dafen. In barely as much time as it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, this village has become one of the world’s largest producers of art, shipping more than $120 million last year in copied and original oil paintings to stores near you.” Chicago Tribune
Here’s an interesting quote on the Tribune article from a Chinese artist / factory chief..
“A single painting is art. If you produce it in large quantities, it’s an industry.”
Robert Genn has also talked about Chinese copies in his newsletter.
Jan 09 Update: I have turned comments off on this post because of continual abuse from Chinese spammers posting hundreds of links to their crappy Chinese oil painting reproduction websites. Yet another reason to buy paintings from your own country and not support the lawlessness and abuse that many of these Chinese painting factories inflict upon the world. I have been deleting their spam for almost a year on this post, so they’re persistent and I was patient until now!