Hand-painted art - tacky or good value?
June 19, 2007 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Your experience with and-painted art - tacky or good value?

I have some wall space to cover and was thinking of acquiring one of those hand-painted old masters (see http://dmoz.org/Shopping/Visual_Arts/Reproductions/Hand_Painted/) rather than buying a print. I know they are (much) more expensive but, apart from that, what has been your experience? Are they relatively convincing (to rank amateurs, like me) or do they look like tacky hand-painted repros, even when stuck on the wall? Any experience with individual companies?
posted by TheRaven to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Is there any reason that you aren't considering an original oil painting instead? You can find nice original work (and reproductions, incidentally) on ebay for a fraction of the price of some of those websites. Try searching around for original oil painting, etc, on ebay and see if there's something that strikes your fancy.
posted by theantikitty at 6:34 PM on June 19, 2007

Are they relatively convincing

What do you want to convince people of? If you want to convince them the paintings are genuine, buy genuine. If you want to convince them that you have good taste, buy what you appreciate and enjoy.
posted by YamwotIam at 6:53 PM on June 19, 2007

As I understand it, these are images that are printed onto canvas which then have a layer of thick, clear acrylic paint hand-applied over the top in rough approximation of the original painter's brish-strokes. "Hand Painted" in this case is a huge misnomer. They don't tend to hold up well to close inspection, but maybe neither you nor your guests will be inspecting them closely, so in that case it's a win.

This is just the personal opinion of some internet goon you've never met, but I tend to think they look tacky, and that you'd be better off spending the money on the work of a local artist.
posted by lekvar at 7:01 PM on June 19, 2007

Original art for sale. Which is the short way of saying, yeah, tacky. If there's an old master painting you really totally love, I'd say get a good quality poster of it and put it in a nice frame. If you just want paintings, buy original. Got a college where you live? Go check out the student work - it'll be cheap and they'll love you forever and, who knows, you might be making an investment that will pay off big one day. You might also be starting a career as an art collector and you'll definitely end up with stuff on your walls that's different, unique and speaks volumes more about you than something from the Holiday Inn Old Masters Genuine Canvas Oil Paintings Today Only sale.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2007

If you'd like I would be willing to help you find some nice original work. Send me a message and we can talk in more detail. I have a few friends who might even be interested in doing a commission for you.
posted by austinlee at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2007

I can't speak to any specific company, but I can speak to the fact that I have personally been to Dafen Village in Southern China where a great many of these hand-painted reproductions are made (google it for much more info), and there is a lot of AMAZING talent there. If you get a true hand-painted reproduction, I think you are likely to have a nice artwork for your wall. Like so many other things, some will try to devalue competition in this realm as "tacky", but in point of fact, a well done reproduction of a master (western or eastern) can be a much more meaningful thing to own and look at every day than the best by your neighborhood local artist....And, looking at the big picture, supporting artists and the arts in China may be an equal if not stronger gesture of moral goodness if you need such a justification as some imply above.
posted by extrabox at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2007

It's your wall, why not ask yourself? If you love the old masters, go for it. It's not my thing, but you'd probably not like my collection either, and I respect you for supporting artisans.

I agonized for a year over a print made by my favourite contemporary artist. It was more than I could afford, and not a great investment. But I bought it and eventually paid off my credit card, and seven years later I can honestly say I look at it everyday with a sense of joy.

I knew the moment I saw this print that I wanted it to be a part of my life. If you get that feeling over a repro, just buy it.

I could have bought print #2/50, and instead I ended up buying 47. But I have no regrets. I'm happy to have this print in my life.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:58 PM on June 19, 2007

They do look tacky and obviously fake.
posted by stereo at 5:30 AM on June 20, 2007

If you want the most value for your money I wouldn't get a hand-painted reproduction. They will not keep their value. You can get great quality original art for what you pay for some of these reproductions.

Most anyone that appreciates art will be as impressed with a hand-painted reproduction as a mass-produced poster of an old master.
posted by JJ86 at 6:08 AM on June 20, 2007

I would say neither particularly tacky (less so to my way of thinking than a poster advertising an exhibition) nor a particularly good value. Of course if it is a well-known painting, then it will be obviously fake no matter how well done; I mean, no one would expect you to have the original Mona Lisa hanging in your house (unless you are Bill Gates). But if you like the idea, go for it; it's your house.
posted by TedW at 9:08 AM on June 20, 2007

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