The artist that painted the best selling art print of all time recently passed away. I hadn’t noticed it until a reader (Irv) pointed out an article in the New York Times.
Vladimir Tretchikoff painted the popular “Chinese Girl”, also known as the “Green Lady” or the “Blue Lady” in 1950. Throughout the 1960s and 70s his prints hung in many living rooms worldwide.
The Green Lady made the “king of kitsch” (a nickname he hated) a commercial hit, allowing him to travel the world during his life time, but art critics never took him seriously.
“The Russian-born South African artist Tretchikoff toured the world on the back of his painting’s popularity. He generated controversy in interviews, exhibited his work in department stores and became one of the first artists to target the “ordinary” public as the true audience for his work.” BBC
The article in the NY Times says..
“If sales are a yardstick, then Mr. Tretchikoff was a Leonardo, and his most popular painting was, as Ms. Mercorio (his daughter) often says, his Mona Lisa.”
Popularity can make an artist like Andy Warhol seem cool, or it can make an artist like Thomas Kinkade seem very uncool. It makes me think about branding and how a brand is marketed.
If art museums started throwing out their Warhols and replaced them with works by Vladimir Tretchikoff, would it change the way people think about the artists?
Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff
December 13, 1913 – August 26, 2006