Paris Artists Threatened
In the last week I've posted two news items about art fakes purporting to be works by S.H. Raza (CLICK) and Salvador Dali (CLICK). Here's another aspect of this growing trend. Montmartre has been the arty quarter of Paris for generations of French artists, including Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec. There are currently about 300 artists officially licensed to work in the streets of Montmartre, which attracts some 10 million tourists a year, many of whom want paintings of Parisian landmarks as souvenirs. David Chazan, BBC News, Paris, reports that these artists are complaining that their livelihoods are being threatened by prints and production-line paintings imported from China and Eastern Europe to be sold at cutthroat prices in the local tourist shops. The prints might have a coating of hand-brushed varnish or some touches of paint to make them look to the undiscerning eye like the genuine article. The mass-produced paintings might pass through the hands of a number of artists, all swiftly adding their speciality to the work - sky, buildings, trees - or a single artist may paint the identical picture again and again and again until he can churn it out in minutes with his eyes shut. So, genuine art and real artists are under attack from a variety of sources, beginning with career criminals and rising to the giddy heights of auction houses and the Anti-art Establishment, which are happy to sell tripe to daft punters as great art.