At another gallery, I also tried to photograph a Chinese painting I
really liked. Suddenly, a guy popped out of the back room and shook a
finger. No pictures here, lady.
Say what? Why?
explained that I was admiring an actual original painting. By
photographing it, I would be violating the artist’s intellectual
property rights. Really? I thought. So, what about the intellectual
property rights of the artists whose work — mostly Western masterpieces —
is copied over and over again and hangs all over the gallery, which sells mostly copies of
Western masterpieces? He was kidding, right?
Nope, not kidding. No photo, lady.
dissatisfied as I was with the merchant’s explanation, I had to
acknowledge that the vast majority of paintings produced before the 20th
century are considered public domain and can be freely copied and sold.
Moreover, there’s a huge market appetite for imitation art
throughout the world. U.S. retailers such as Pier 1 are known to carry
oil paintings from China. Add to this all those hotels, motels and
furnished Florida condominiums that buy imitations of paintings — many
imported from China — by the gross.
There is also a factor that goes back to the roots of Chinese art.
masterpiece is an honorable craft in countries such as China and Japan.
Working in traditional calligraphy and pottery, budding artists are
actually encouraged to quietly observe the master first, and then copy
the masterpiece to learn the fundamentals.
In that light, a
Chinese art student might not feel even mildly larcenous as he makes a
meticulous copy of a Van Gogh – at least at first. But, hired to
mass-produce a hundred copies of the same Van Gogh, followed by three
dozen Mona Lisas, the conscientious artist might eventually suffer
enough second thoughts to rethink his or her career.
I’m not suggesting at all, however, that China lacks original art or original ideas.
its thousands of years of history, China has conceived several museums’
worth of unique art forms ranging from ink wash paintings to
The story of post-war Japan provides a telling
parallel to present-day China. Japan after the war got busy making
knockoff toys and gadgets. Decades passed before Japan’s economy drew
close to the West. As this happened, Japanese design and industry caught
up also in innovation, originality and quality. Similarly, China is now
going through what might be called its imitation phase, as it waits for
its pre-Cultural Revolution traditions — in art, design and
entrepreneurial pizzazz — to come fully back to life.
the successful ecosystems created both in Da Fen Village and the Pearl
River Delta — with all the merchants, distributors, developers and
manufacturers in one place — are a model that Western high-tech
companies are emulating today in hopes of gaining efficiency and bigger
The following slideshow illustrates street corners of
Da Fen Oil Painting Village, and the basic operations of their
Chinese art mass-produced
Paintings mass-produced and sold at Da Fen Village are not limited to Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Monet. They include copies of traditional Chinese paintings as well.
I don't know if it should be viewed as other than a human way of making lifescale postcards or photographs. Maybe pretentious? As long as they include the artist and copyright in the fine print at a corner or on the label, shouldn't be dismissed as knockoff.
hey, junk o, you might gone too far in generalize the term 'knockoff nation'.
china has been diligent in generating original IPs , TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA etc. there could be a couple of unlawful individuals around as every where on top of the earth.
how about we call jap ' whaling nation' 'prostitute nation' or 'nuked nation'?
which one you prefer?
""Wait. You sell fake art produced by artists who copied them from books. But I am not allowed to take a picture of your fake art?""
Once I was in singapore downtown, I was stopped by a guard while I was trying to photo a building (capital group). the reason is simple , this is private property.
you seems too dumb to understand what is 'private property', that's exactly your ancestors problem. They don't understand what's is other ppl's property, they have a right to it, you can't just walk in, take pictures, or take anything you are interested in.
does EET has a editor in charge to censor this dumb and crazy ... before she post something?
To all the strangely bitter people making angry posts to this article, I recommend you check your own attitudes.
The new Chinese economy, since rejecting central planning, has long had an element of copying movies and software. This is what the author is referring to. The article is taking a look at an example of how this copying economy works in the case of paintings, and how some artists in China have already moved up the food chain and made original art. The exact same dynamic is going on in the electronics industry.
To the people who read this and infer some kind of nationalistic insult, I feel sorry for you.
I respect the artists who keep training their skills by even copying. They have the spirit of craftmanship. On the contrary, we cannot find that working spirit in the US. Our kids become lazy, they don't respect hardworking anymore and only like to pointing fingers and play politics. What a pity.
I was disappointed that there were no prices quoted for these proverbial Chinese copies. I wouldn't mind owning one.
I suppose the overriding question is what price should we pay to enjoy great art. We can legitimately listen to a good reproduction of a Beethoven symphony in our home with a decent sound system repeatedly for less than $20 for the CD.
We could enjoy the Mona Lisa for a few minutes by flying to Paris and paying admission to the Louvre. Most entrepreneurs don't charge for "just looking". Now that would be a revenue scheme for store owners to at least directly recover the costs of displaying their wares.
If you're really rich you may have a go at buying a master's original and enjoy looking at it whenever you had the urge. Most master's originals are purchased as an investment and locked away in a vault. I'm sure every single Master would disagree with his masterpieces not seeing the light of day or at best making a tidy sum for their rich owners when on exhibition.
A book is cheap but hardly has the impact of an original. You're not going to fool anyone that you have an original Monet.
Vincent van Gogh bashed off his thousands of paintings in less than 30 minutes each, and yet holds the record for total value at auction. Vincent led a miserable and impoverished life without any rewards or recognition in his lifetime.
These Chinese copy artists are talented, no doubt and make a living well above that of van Gogh. In a way they are no different than musicians doing their interpretation of a master's work. Would they be better off doing original paintings, live in poverty and then be worth a fortune after they die? I'm sure many of them do their own thing on the side, but at least they make a living doing what they love and are good at - painting.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.