Chinese Assembly Line Oil Paintings Create Concerns

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“China's ability to turn what has long been an individual craft into a mass production industry may affect small-scale artists from Rome's Spanish Steps to the sidewalks along Santa Monica's beach in California, as well as many galleries and art colonies in between." Keith Bradsher, New York Times

Concerns by artists groups in the U.S. over the authenticity and originality of some oil paintings imported from China are growing. Art Print Issues, a digital newsletter reporting on the art print market, addresses the state of affairs in its November issue. These oil paintings are created using assembly line techniques where individual artists specialize in backgrounds, faces and so forth. A recent article in the New York Times reporting on the impact of imported Chinese oil paintings by its China business correspondent, Keith Bradsher underscores the seriousness of the situation.

While high profile industries such as software and entertainment have had an ongoing front-page battle over piracy issues with products being illegally manufactured in China, the decorative art and wall decor industry has not been immune to knock-offs. Nor is the growing threat less serious to them. For years, art publishers who produce fine art prints, art posters and giclées have sought to keep illegal copies from importers of flat oil paintings out of the tradeshows where they compete. Due to banding together to form the Art Copyright Coalition and to more vigorous individual defense of their intellectual property rights, publishers have had limited success in keeping copies of their work being displayed at shows.

According to a new item on his Website, Thomas Arvid, a popular and successful print artist who specializes in painting wine, had knock-off works removed from the booths of offending companies at the combined Decor Expo and Artexpo Atlanta shows in September. Arvid also made news when, with the help of the U.S. Marshall’s office, he seized 146 counterfeit pieces of his work from a gallery in the resort town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. A visitor to the gallery tipped off Arvid’s office. The pieces, apparently produced in China, were selling for prices of $20 -$60. Arvid’s fine art prints typically sell between $1,000 and $2,000. His originals sell for more than $60,000.

Read the full story on the impact of Chinese oils at: where the current issue, archives and free subscriptions are available. Barney Davey publishes Art Print Issues and he is the author of a 280-page book titled, How to Profit from the Art Print Market. Davey is a frequent speaker and leads workshops for artists groups on art marketing. He wrote the book and publishes the newsletter to fill the void in the lack of practical information for visual artists on the art print market. Contact Barney Davey at: 877-869-8859.


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Barney Davey