Your probably thinking right now of buying a copy of that favorite painting you are certain will look great in your lounge. You have seen the huge websites selling “Oil Painted Reproductions” for a silly price and you just can’t resist it .
Well here is a wakeup call for you “Paintings for Sale” but remember what your old latin or economics teacher told you “Caveat Emptor” let the buyer beware !
Now it’s true that unless you’re a Millionaire or an Investment Fund, then purchasing one of the World’s famous, original paintings is probably out of your league, but two hundred and fifty bucks for a hand painted reproduction of a Rembrandt! well you can’t go wrong can you ?
Consider this, there are numerous reasons why certain paintings become famous, infamy and quality are just two, the former usually concerns the artist rather than the paintings they produced but the truth is, the reason why certain Artists and paintings have become universally renown is that when you look hard at the Art-World over the centuries and the thousands of people that sort to make their daily bread as an Artist, you are forced to the conclusion that not many of them were exceptionally talented.
From the 16th Century when Oil Painting on canvass became the medium of choice for artisan painters that made their living selling portable movable decoration and memorabilia to the wealthy families and institutions of Europe. We should not forget not forget that in the final analysis, regardless of the hype and hyperbola that has been written about old classical paintings, that’s what they are and in my opinion there has been a sorry lack of excellence amongst many.
Let me be precise, I am talking here about paintings and artists from before the advent of the “Impressionist movement” of around 1860 after that, it becomes in my opinion much easier to sort out the dross from the excellent, it’s simple, most of it is pretentious pseudo intellectualized derivative dross. That is my opinion you have every right to disagree but to me the Emperor is naked.
Of course certain artists stand much higher than their contemporaries, it’s the same the world over no matter what field of endeavor we are discussing but whereas you are unlikely to have a set of Albert Einstein’s mathematical formulations on your walls to beautify your surroundings, you are likely if you consider yourself educated and cultured and want your friends to know it, to have a good quality Oil Painting hanging in your living room. The problem is, as I said in the beginning, unless your very wealthy or lucky enough to be the recipient of a bequest from a far sighted deceased relative, that painting is unlikely to be an “Original Old Master”
That’s OK, it’s quite acceptable to hang a reproduction providing that it’s a good reproduction, the cardinal sin here is to hang a bad reproduction thereby exposing yourself to ridicule because you were trying to show your good taste and education and it becomes obvious that you really don’t know the difference between a 1787 Chateau Lafite and a Pepsi.
If the reproduction you have paid that bargain price for is not as close to the original as humanly possible then someone is going to point it out, someone of little discretion, entering into your home will take great delight in pointing it out and once they do you may as well trash the offending canvas because it will never give you pleasure again, It will only serve as a constant reminder that you messed up!
The internet if full of Reproduction Art Dealers, Google ”Famous Paintings” or “Paintings For Sale” and you will find thousands, all offering to paint you your favorite Old Master in any size you like and all trying to offer it at the lowest price .
Question? When was the last time you brought something for your home that was dirt cheap, was handmade and world class top quality? The last guys to do that were the Vikings and they stopped doing business a long, long time ago…
The reason that far eastern studios can offer you your favorite famous painting at the price of a meal for eight at Cracker Barrel is that the operatives painting these “old masters” won’t be eating chicken and biscuits like you, they are more likely to be eating a laborers meal of noodles somewhere on a factory paintings assembly line in China.
Here is another thing you need to know, even the online galleries that say they have artists in the USA painting just for you, they are not giving you the whole story. Here is a little test you can use, ring them up if they have an agent or franchise in the USA, ask them where they get their paintings from, if they answer “here at home” ask them where they can find artists in America that paint reproductions for far eastern wages . It doesn’t add up does it? Fact is, if you want high quality paintings then you have to employ an artisan that can produce it, that artisan will have to be classically trained in an art school and will insist on a decent wage to have his talents and education adequately rewarded .
Truth is: If you want high quality to save you those embarrassing moments described earlier,you have to pay a reasonable price for it. Pay a sensible and reasonable rate and you will get quality if you know where to go for it.
This is a fact and I will explain why: The Chinese painting factories cannot paint western classical art.
Why? Their factory painters are paid on “piece work” and they will try to produce your commission as fast as possible. The painter will have no experience or training in Classical Western Art and no idea how the original actually looked other than they can establish from the reference copy and neither will they know the difference or care!
Far Eastern aesthetics are very different to European or American aesthetics that’s a fact, want proof? go and take a look at any Chinese Website, you will find it crowded and gaudy, full of flashing characters, totally unbearable to Western eyes but the Chinese like it that way because it tunes in to a national esthetic and style. This national styling is totally different to Western tastes because it has evolved completely differently.
So, let me ask you at this point, do you think someone working in a Far Eastern high volume factory studio will understand or appreciate Western Classical Art? No, they are gambling on you not knowing the difference between a Rembrandt and a Van Dyke, so go there only if you really don’t know the difference.
Classical Fine Art is all about the detail, the application, the period authenticity, if you have not grown up with an appreciation for these then you’re going to produce at best a very poor facsimile.
But they guarantee their work, if I don’t like it I can send it back! Sounds good doesn’t it but when you discover that it’s going to cost you nearly as much to return it as it did to buy it and you have to repack it and get it to a shipper, pay extra to have it signed for at the other end, that’s when the reality of the Guarantee situation hits home, it’s very unlikely you will go the bother and effort and they know that.
Your probably thinking right now “I would be better off forgetting about indulging in a little bit of artistic culture in oils, I should go hang a poster on my wall and forget about this fine art thing, well that’s not true and I am going to tell you where you can go to get magnificent oil paintings, both reproduction and classically styled originals at a price that is sensible and reasonable and that won’t break the bank.
There are only Two western reproduction studios that I know of that have any retinue of trained classical artists at their disposal, One is based in St.Petersburg in The State Russian Museum and one is based in the USA and the UK but has most of its work done exclusively here in my studios in Romania.
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