Reproduction of oil paintings: the process step by step.

Can you guess which is the original painting and which is the reproduction?

If you estimated that the painting on the left is the original, you were right!

The painting on the right is an oil reproduction made by a painting artist.

The differences in the reproduction of paintings are marked by the time elapsed, the type of pigment used, the skill of the artist and the canvas used. However buyers of replica paintings accept these small differences and some even prefer the striking colors of the reproductions to the originals!

only in the big ones art forgeries it is very difficult to distinguish between the original and the reproduction, since special techniques are used there to age the paintings.

Let's look at some of the methods used in paintings reproductions:

Reproduction of paintings printed on canvas

This type of niche in the reproduction of paintings is on the rise, since traditional canvases are used, mainly cotton, with ink prints made by large-format printers such as the EPSON. Within this category there are Giclee canvas prints, with traditional dyes or long-lasting or "archival" pigments. Also in this category are embellished fabric prints. The technique is simple, a painting is printed on cotton or synthetic canvas and once the painting is dry, an artist adds oil on the surface, embellishing the painting and adding texture.

There is a marked difference between paintings that are massively printed on canvas (Canvas Prints) and prints made with Glicee, see the following graph:

In the image on the left, the painting is printed with normal ink. On the left, the painting is printed using the Giclee technique.

At Giclee resolution matters! Any image you plan to use to print fine art prints should be at least 300 DPI relative to the physical size you expect to print.

Used interchangeably in the printing world, DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and relates to the number of physical dots that are printed within a given square inch.

That said, what a high-quality art print looks like depends a lot on the quality of the digital image and its resolution, and we already know that images with that kind of resolution are very rare and very hard to come by. A simple Google search is not enough.

Reproduction of paintings printed on paper or sheet (posters)

When printed offset, an image is divided into four "color channels" known as CMYK. This stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

These prints, also called offset prints, are also subject to the quality of the source image (the resolution), the printer used, the inks and the paper. There is always a risk here that the source image will be of low resolution and therefore the final product will also be of low quality. Although there are photographs of famous paintings  in free use on the internet, very few can actually be found with the necessary resolution to make a worthy impression of the work. The only way to do it is by scanning the works in specialized scanners. Of course with this painting reproduction technique there is zero texture, and therefore the “cheap paint” appearance is a characteristic of the reproduction. This is not the way for someone who wants a high-quality print of a painting.

Offset printing is one of the oldest and most widely used printing styles and has been around since the 1870s, but it is not highly recommended for quality reproductions of fine art.

Generally the result is not good and disappoints the buyer. Here it is worth announcing, without the intention of being burlesque: cheap is expensive!

Reproduction of oil paintings authorized by the artist

The reproduction of oil paintings in the visual arts dates back to the 16th century, when it was common practice for art students to copy their old masters in order to learn how to paint. The process of copying a masterpiece allowed them to practice a skillful painting style while developing their own style. This allowed ordinary people to hold onto reproductions of oil paintings worth thousands of dollars. Leonardo first learned to paint in the style of his teacher before following his own approach, and later copied his teacher's style of painting.

By copying a painting, the student learns the artist's method; his manner of approach, the mixture and color gradations.

Doña Viviana artist of Kuadros

At the end of the 19th century, Degas was diligently copying masterpieces by his favorite artist, Ingres. He also made a careful large-scale copy of Poussin's The Rape of the Sabine Women, which is now in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The list of famous artists who copied the old masters is endless; Landseer to Rubens; John Singer Sargent to Velasquez; Henri Fantin Latour to Titian and Veronese, Gericault to Caravaggio; Watteau to Titian, Van Dyck To Tintoretto, Matsys to Raphael, to name just a few.

This practice has been so marked that even Picasso himself made famous the phrase, "Good artists copy, great artists steal"

Reproduction of silkscreen paintings

The technique of reproducing paintings by screen printing has existed for more than 100 years. It is a medium that has been used to amazing effect by artists such as Andy Warhol, Romero Britto, LeRoy Neiman and many others. But what exactly is a screen print? Screen printing is a term that comes from "seri", which means "silk" in Latin, and "graphos", which means "writing" in ancient Greek. The word was coined early in the last century to distinguish the artistic use of the medium from its more common commercial purpose. Screen printing is familiar to us in countless ways. It is used from t-shirt logos to posters.

Copy of paintings by screen printing

The roots of the medium lie deep in history. It was used especially in the Far Eastern countries, China and Japan, as a technique for applying templates to fabrics and screens. Screen printing is allied with woodblock printing, which first emerged in those countries for similar purposes.

Fantasy Night Serigraphy

Fantasy Night, Itzchak Tarkay

Both techniques were adopted by European artists and craftsmen in the 15th century and were further developed for a wide variety of decorative and artistic applications.

At its most basic level, screen printing involves covering portions of silk or a similar material with a layer. First, the silk is stretched over a frame hinged to a plinth. Then the picture window is masked with masking tape, and a layer of shellac or glue is applied. Any part of the silk that is exposed becomes the design through which ink or another pigment, such as paint, is pressed with a squeegee or brush. This simplified description hardly does justice to the technical flexibility and artistic versatility of the medium.

Reproduction of paintings on photographic paper

A good reproduction of photographic paper prints is done on archival quality matte paper. This is the best paper for fine art storage as it is a long lasting specialist paper for reproductions of paintings and photographic prints. It features a smooth surface, heavyweight paper (230g), neutral white and matte, designed for accurate color reproduction providing high contrast and high resolution output. Acid-free paper is preferred, making it the perfect choice for both photography and fine art reproductions. It should be noted that this type of reproduction of paintings is also subject to the quality of the paper.

How to distinguish the quality in the reproduction of oil paintings?

Even within these above categories there are great differences in quality, price, sizes, and color fidelity in oil painting reproductions.

At Kuadros we specifically serve a type of demanding clientele that is looking for the reproduction of high-quality oil paintings. These are copies of paintings made with extreme skill, in which expert copying artists try to get as close as possible to the intention of the original author.

To achieve this, we have the help of more than 60 teachers graduated from schools of plastic arts. These artists are scattered throughout different parts of the world, from Venezuela to Haiti in the Americas, passing through China and Japan.

Who commands the stall in the Reproduction of Oil Paintings trade?

There are currently two schools of reproduction of paintings in large volume, the one that uses European artists and the Chinese. Companies that use European artists to make copies charge much more for their paintings than companies that use Chinese painters. But is the abysmal price difference justified?

What is the difference in quality between these two schools of oil painting reproductions?

There is no difference in quality marked by the geography of the painter who reproduces the work. Contrary to many Chinese products that (justifiably) have a dubious reputation for quality, Chinese art reproductions are often equal to or superior to European artists. The reason? The Chinese artist has a considerable advantage over the European in experience, since the reproductions of Chinese paintings have been making mass reproduction of paintings for 3 decades.

It is worth knowing a little about this story. In 1989, a Hong Kong businessman and artist named Huang Jiang visiting Shenzhen City set out to transform the dilapidated Dafen Village into an oil painting reproduction workshop.

Renting several houses and recruiting a dozen apprentices, he created a business that functioned like a factory production line, efficiently churning out Van Goghs, Da Vincis, and Rembrandts and selling them around the world. By the late 1990s, Jiang's business had grown to include more than 2,000 workers. Many trainees eventually broke away and formed their own breeding projects.

Several of the masters working with Kuadros today come from Master Huang Jiang's original breed of those early artists.

But not all China reproductions are the same. Today you can buy cheap reproductions of paintings on Chinese portals such as Aliexpress. Many of these replicas are of poor quality, although buyers who don't know the difference are generally satisfied.

Specialized artists still in China charge quite high to produce their works, as the average production time for a 60x90 painting is at least 2-3 weeks. To that we must add the drying time and international dispatch.

What influences the price in the reproduction of oil paintings?

The price of reproductions of famous paintings is determined by several factors:

  • The artist who paints the painting.  Good artists and experienced masters are paid higher than apprentices or artists new to the art of reproduction
  • The size of the painting. Here it is worth saying that size matters. It is not the same to reproduce a 60x90 painting than 120x200, since of course more canvas, more paint and above all, time is used. In many cases the artist who reproduces paintings charges more for his time than for the materials.
  • the cloth  Synthetic canvases are cheaper than cotton and cotton cheaper than linen.
  • The pigments .
  • The number of figures in the painting
  • The level of detail and complexity of the painting

Are reproductions of paintings worth anything?

In general, art reproductions have a low value compared to originals that are auctioned in the millions. Fine art painting replicas are not an investment like original art.

On the other hand, there is also no guarantee that an original piece of art will go up in value. Of course, there are exceptions to fine art reproductions, especially oil painting reproductions. For example, if Banksy painted a reproduction of Klimt's The Kiss, then this reproduction would be worth a lot, since it would be painted by a famous artist. But in general art reproductions are worth whatever someone is going to pay for them.

Because most copies after the Old Masters have long been undervalued, their authorship was rarely recorded, so they most often come to us today as anonymous works. And yet we make an effort to understand the influence of truly great works on younger or later artists and students.

Reproductions of famous paintings are usually fantastically cheap. Buying a copy of a famous painting would put you in good company: King Charles I, England's most famous and sophisticated art collector, owned a large number of copies (nearly 70 in all), including numerous copies of paintings whose originals were already they were in his power. In addition to purchasing these paintings himself, Charles also received copies as gifts from members of the court.

As in the example of King Charles, it is clear that the satisfaction in owning a replica does not lie in its commercial value, but in being able to admire a little of what the artist wanted to capture on the original work.

Some advice before buying a reproduction of an oil painting:

In the painting industry, you really do get what you pay for. If you opt for a print reproduction, don't expect too much.

Always compare the replica to the original so you can see the differences and judge for yourself how good or bad the reproduction is.

It is almost impossible to reproduce an oil painting with 100% accuracy. Don't be fooled by misleading claims.

You should also examine the warranty provided by the provider.

Be realistic about how long you should wait for your playback. Unless it's a printed painting, oil paintings take several weeks to paint, carefully packaged so they don't get damaged, and shipped to your destination. The average for a buyer to receive a requested painting is 6 weeks, but in some cases this time can be extended to 8 or 10 weeks.

About Reproductions of Famous Oil Paintings by Kuadros

Our museum-quality reproductions are 100% hand-painted by professional artists with many years of experience creating replica oil paintings on canvas.

All of our paintings come directly from the studio. We do not work with intermediaries, nor do we have galleries or showrooms.

The hallmark of Kuadros paintings is quality and guarantee, since each work, in addition to being painted by an expert artist, is periodically reviewed by the masters in charge of quality control.

The result is a work of exceptional beauty just for you.

Kuadros, a famous painting on his wall.

Curiosities of Art

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive articles of interest, painting offers and a vast collection of art curiosities