Ditto on that - remember walking into tape copying shops in the '80's - they were duping them right there.... ;) But PLEASE, stop being so defensive - the author has mentioned that this is a phase, and things are changing - what is the problem? She could have easily brought up much more "dirt" if she wanted to, but kept it to the point of this city - you should be proud as the paintings look great, and you have already developed supply chains for them.
Name calling and insults neither advance our understanding of an issue nor demonstrate rational thought. A carefully reasoned respectful discussion may open our minds to new insights and issues. However, when people hurl insults, ethnic and personal attacks, their positions are hard to take seriously.
The Google Art Project attempts to do what you are talking about by digitizing artwork in very high resolution (enough to see individual brush strokes on many paintings). You just need to be able to afford a decently sized and high quality monitor to see great art in a high quality rendering.
Technology has allowed us to enjoy most art-forms with nearly full emotional impact at reasonable cost.
We've routinely listened to recorded music for over a century from Edison's cylinders, to records, to tapes, to CDs to iPods. Movies have evolved from silent films, to talkies, through color, surround sound and 3D right into our home theaters.
Paintings are long overdue for a technological revolution. A reproduction in a small book just doesn't cut it any more. Even a large print lacks the subtle surface texture from brushstrokes. Perhaps robotics can be applied to produce a reproduction worthy of the masterpiece at prices affordable by most.
Every artist wants his art to be enjoyed by many, not just the rich few.
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.
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.