Dafen (Chinese: 大芬; pinyin: Dàfēn; Jyutping: daai6 fan1) is a suburb of Buji, Longgang, Shenzhen in Guangdong province, China. The area is an artist village for the production of replicas of masterworks and outsourcing of original art creation.
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, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and 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 fifty years ago and consequently out of copyright, although the artists copied include Georgia O'Keefe, who died in 1986. Knockoffs of contemporary artists such as Botero and Yue Minjun are also sold.
The only requirement is that it is made clear that these paintings are replicas. Currently, the village sells both originals and replicas. It is possible to commission paintings for low prices. The village is a gated development, recognizable by the large sculpture of a hand holding a paintbrush outside its gates.
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