Monday, June 15, 2015

Chinese Art Forgery

I was looking through eBay today and stumbled across a painting by Calvin Liang. Funny, the ad said "From China" but that couldn't be right....but it was. The painting was Calvin Liangs but according to the auction it was painted by Liu "original oil painting" it says. WTF? I don't know if Calvin Liang knows about his work being sold on eBay by a company from China without his signature and the auction description claiming it is the painting of Liu Jian instead....that would piss me off.
Naturally I poked around after that trying to find out just how bad Chinese art forgery has become. According to people posting on eBay forums it has ruined the eBay we knew it as 10 or 15 years ago. I used to sell art prints on there all the time...made great money but things changed in the mid 2000's. After that it was almost impossible to get people to buy on there. I've sold a few paintings there, small ones when money was tight. That worked at first but the last few times I've tried that it didn't. The economy??? Forgery causing the loss of trusted eBayers??? I'm not sure but I would believe Chinese forgery hasn't helped eBay but for the life of me I can't understand a company like eBay who puts up with it. It's pretty blatant and I'm sure they've been warned by the people getting burned by it. Then I read an article about how hard it is to go after the forgers in China.... ....
I guess what it comes down to is people want to make money...keep their corporation going and no complaining, ripped off, whiney artist is going to mess that up. It's sad to think America has become a country that doesn't protect their own people from getting screwed by foreign countries. Heck, if we allow foreigners to cut the heads off of our people why would it bother them that some artist is getting ripped off for a painting or two....or 10,000.
When I was in the service in Germany we used to brag to each other about how awesome America was compared to other countries. I wouldn't brag at all nowadays. I can't believe that America would still allow trading to go on with China at all. Imagine all of the industry that would come back to the US if we made our own steel, built our own ships, made our own shoes and clothing. You know, we used to do that stuff and it was more expensive but most of us had jobs to afford it. Of course....I'm no expert, I'm an artist.  


David King said...

It sure has become a sad state of affairs. The company I work for is insisting on buying parts made in China to be more "competitive" in the market place, our customers will pay the price in the long run, (and probably not a very long run) actually we're paying the price already but management just doesn't see it. I used to have some pride in my job but that's all gone now. Ya, I do my job well enough to earn my paycheck but beyond that I just don't care.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi David,
Yep, same had happened to the last company I worked for...there's always a way to save a buck. This company had a few of Calvin Liangs paintings available and some others I'm sure were also rip offs. It is so blatant though and that's what gets me. Sad state of affairs for sure.

Jim Serrett said...

You really start to understand the problem when you look at the articles and press releases on Dafen Painting Village in China. A state sponsored industrial city that’s sole purpose is to make cheap painted reproductions? How can there be an industry for this? Who buys this stuff? Well... someone MUST be because this is a huge industry there. This is not some cottage business with a hand full of workers, but a massive industrial complex employing thousands. Which keeps me coming back to the question where is this junk going?

I give Clinton Hobart been a one man army fighting the thief of his work. I really praise him for his efforts.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Jim,
Dafen amazes me too. Hard to believe that with all of the land and other subject matter that China has they'd follow the path of forging Western artists. Why not open the country to Western artists and have painting workshops or camps there? Guess it's easier to cheat.

Dianne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

the debate has widened somewhat and it is all very interesting Ron et al. I think that Ebay has to shoulder a lot of the blame for this ( I speak as one who has been burned twice and found that Ebay had a/ covered their fat asses and b/ didn't give a flying f---

How hard would it be to insist that all traders were indemnified or had funds held by ebay as a condition of trading

Bob Hope said...

sorry my last comment was a bit rushed. Thanks for your comments and the very educational articles, Ron.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hello Bob,
I think I kind of strayed from my path there in what I wrote....I think eBay has all of the guilt here. People are going to cheat but the company that allows them to do it is to blame for allowing it.
As a Seller I made hundreds of sales with prints and I think I had maybe 3 or 4 non paying bidders. I think it sucks eBay still takes their commission on the sale even if you don't receive payment from the bidder. I'm sure eBay will one day not be around and I feel it will be from their lack of protecting Sellers and unwary Buyers, and also, their complete lack of business ethics.

Anonymous said...

I'm upset with eBay in the sense that when I request an 'original oil painting', I expect it to be just that, and not a truck load of prints from China. The artist you're discussing Liu jian, at first I thought wow what a tremendous artist, until I realized that this is all a forged fake enterprise, not only to make money off of eBay, but to cheapen the price of art.
Whenever I see China, I now skip right by it, I ignore it completely, which has to be bad for those legitimate real original painters ion China, looking for exposure to market their art work. So these Chinese hacks and swindlers are not only cheating the western world's art collectors, they're hurting, cheating and diminishing their own Chinese artists.
eBay has a responsibility to conduct its web site with some form of integrity, by adhering to the clients requests, with the proper and appropriate product items, not some bazaar throw it all at you attitude, hoping you'll sort it all out for them.
Furthermore, when you hover over the thumbnail on the listings page, you should see the larger image to make your viewing a lot more enjoyable, and less of a struggle and time waster. eBay has a lot to answer to. Randy

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Randy,
You've brought up a good point. I agree too that Chinese artists involved in Chinese paint shops only hurt ligitimate Chinese artists trying to pick up sales in the US. I think China could care less though and if they can make $2 on selling copies or prints then they are happy to do so.
I was on eBay the other day and trying to find good quality american art is getting slimmer and slimmer. Too many forgeries and churned out abstract art. It's dissapointing what has happened on eBay. The crazy thing is eBay doesn't seem to care....amazing what American business has come to.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I have seen the paintings that you are talking about on eBay. They are identifiable by the old 16 inch x 20 inch frame that is shown around almost all of them. Are these real original paintings? I bought one just to look at it. They are obviously not computer spray paintings. Is this a legitimate artist that thinks he can piggyback on the fame of another known artist? They are nice paintings but showing a photo on ebay in a compressed photo format makes them look even better. What is the story?