I want a fake rothko painting. how do I go about it?
May 20, 2010 5:29 AM   Subscribe

I want a fake rothko painting. how do I go about it?

I remember reading in the new yorker about a (chinese?) village where a bunch of residents copied famous paintings. they made near perfect copies for anyone wishing to have a famous painting in their homes but unable to afford one. sadly I wasn't able to find the article online.

I would like to have a yellow rothko for my bedroom. since I lack the ten or so million required to get a real one, I'd like to commission a copy. or at least I'm thinking about it as in the end this will be a question of how much that would run me. I'm hoping to find someone who will paint one for me for a few hundred dollars.

I am aware of the various art prints being peddled online and in museum shops but I don't want a glossy print with his name set in a horrible font. I want paint on canvas in a fairly large size.

do you know who I should contact for an estimate? have you done something similar? what were your experiences?
posted by krautland to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't want to do it yourself, you might consider putting an ad on a bulletin board at the local art school, or even on Craigslist or something.
posted by box at 5:54 AM on May 20, 2010

Go to etsy and use alchemy to request custom work. You'll probably get a ton of replies and you'll be able to choose your artist.
posted by Ostara at 6:12 AM on May 20, 2010

If you have a friend going to pretty much anywhere outside Japan/Hong Kong in the Far East (or many other developing countries) get them to take a photo with them and bring back a finished canvas for you. Things like this are very difficult to arrange remotely and, as ever, the quality varies a lot so don't hold your hopes out for a "near perfect" copy.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:12 AM on May 20, 2010

They do this in Thailand as well.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:13 AM on May 20, 2010

There are lots of sites that will put photos or prints on canvas so they look like they were painted. That might be an affordable alternative.
posted by getmetoSF at 6:37 AM on May 20, 2010

One of the helpful terms will be "reproduction rothko." Here's one from Overstock art but it's not very large.
posted by barnone at 6:45 AM on May 20, 2010

A few more reproductions of various sizes. More. These folks are supposedly in China but I didn't see any Rothko. These too.
posted by barnone at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2010

Also "reproduction masterpiece" or "reproduction art masterpiece" seemed to get some good hits for companies.
posted by barnone at 6:53 AM on May 20, 2010

Rothko's glazing technique, that give his paintings their glow, is time consuming and doesn't work in acrylics, and not everybody knows how to do it (it became almost obsolete in the 20th century). You'll need to find somebody who's familiar with this technique and knows what they're doing.

Wiki says Rothko used a combination of acrylics, alkyds and other media (acrylics would have been for the underlayer), which is kind of remarkable since alkyd artists' paints weren't available at the time, as far as I know. Somebody can probably replicate the effect with just alkyds, or alkyds with an acrylic underlayer.
posted by nangar at 7:11 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I second the bulletin board at a local art college Idea. I painted stuff like this when I was in college for commission and charged painfully little money for it.

I seriously doubt I was even paying myself minimum wage. But it wasn't important to me. I was being commissioned and that was helpful in it's own right and lead to bigger better much more lucrative commissions.

A win win for me and the people of brattleboro VT.
posted by French Fry at 7:38 AM on May 20, 2010

Laura Bennett (of Project Runway fame) did an art project with her kids that involved stretched canvas, foam rollers, and acrylic paint. Pics of her apartment show a blue painting behind her sofa that is Rothko-ish enough that she's apparently been asked where she acquired it.

Seconding Ostara's recommendation of Etsy Alchemy if you don't want to experiment yourself.
posted by catlet at 8:30 AM on May 20, 2010

Absolutely, college art departments. There's likely a listserv you could have your request put on. I was not a fine art/painting student, but those who were did work like this frequently.

Also, if there is a school teaching Art & Historic Preservation, this could also be a good place to look. Students there will not exactly be fine art students but will have the skills and resources to do this.
posted by fontophilic at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2010

Yep, a straightforward ad with what you're offering to pay, on an art college bulletin board. You'll probably get a student who'll care about matching the colours, canvas construction and texture it as exactly as possible. You want this thing to have heft and presence.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:48 AM on May 20, 2010

In 2003 while my father was traveling in Vietnam he had a reproduction of Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon made for a production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile I was directing. It turned out great and still hangs in my living room. As I understood it, just about any gallery in Hanoi could point one to an artist to make the copy. My dad just got an image of the painting online and the artist took care of the rest. Of course, Dad had really been looking for a good painting of oysters to go with mum's Oyster Plate collection, so he replaced the fruit basket in the Picasso with a plate of oysters lifted from (I believe) a Monet canvas... so if you want the artist to get creative, that's possible too.
posted by jrb223 at 9:27 AM on May 20, 2010

I have a Rothko poster (no cheesy words, just the print in poster size) mounted on Plak-it board. I've been asked if it is real, especially when it is hung somewhere where close inspection for brushstrokes was not possible. It was very inexpensive, I was told (it was a gift from my mom, so I don't know the exact price). Many frame stores can mount on Plak-it, and the result really is beautiful and realistic.
posted by k8lin at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2010

Dafen is the village in China. Google suggests many options for online ordering.
posted by judith at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2010

Response by poster: lots of great tips here, thanks to all for that.

college campuses are tough to get to presently but I will try. I'm exploring all those other options as I'm writing this.
posted by krautland at 12:52 AM on May 21, 2010

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