Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)
The Bridge At Argenteuil, 1874
Now in the The Musee d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France
From a distance of ten feet or so, Monet's brushstrokes blend to yield a convincing view of the Seine and the pleasure boats that drew tourists to Argenteuil. Up close, however, each dab of paint is distinct, and the scene dissolves into a mosaic of paint—brilliant, unblended tones of blue, red, green, yellow. In the water, quick, fluid skips of the brush mimic the lapping surface. In the trees, thicker paint is applied with denser, stubbier strokes. The figure in the sailboat is only a ghostly wash of dusty blue, the women rowing nearby are indicated by mere shorthand. In the early years of impressionism, Monet, Renoir, and others strove to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere on the landscape and to transcribe directly and quickly their sensory experience of it. Monet advised the American artist Lilla Cabot Perry, "When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives your own naïve impression of the scene before you."
Reproduction in Dafen, Shenzhen ,China
Dafen is a suburb of Buji, Longgang, Shenzhen in Guangdong province, China. In the early 1990s a group of about twenty artists under the leadership of the painter and businessman Huang Jiang took up residence in this town. They specialised in the making of large numbers of replicas of oil paintings by masters such as Van Gogh, Dalí, da Vinci, Rembrandt or Warhol.
These replicas were sold in many countries for relatively low prices.
The endeavor was quite successful and the demand for replicas increased. In order to fulfill the demand more and more artists took up residence and started to make a living, the estimate (2006) being in the thousands.
Many of the artists are trained at art academies in the required techniques and produce dozens of replicas daily.
The official policy states that these replicas are of paintings of artists who have died more than seventy years ago and consequently out of copyright.
In the mid-2000s, Dafen’s copy industry was booming. It was at this point that auxiliary commercial avenues began to take root in the village. Quaint cafes, as well as more accessible “gallery shops” (predominantly fronts for anonymous art workers and addresses from which to tout for business both wholesale and retail) lent the village lucrative tourist appeal.
By the decade’s end, Dafen was well and truly on Shenzhen’s map, its success story absorbed into the city’s broader narrative. To that end, at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, Shenzhen’s Urban Best Practice pavilion featured a mosaic of 999 panels painted by more than 500 art workers to recreate what was dubbed the Dafen Lisa.