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Russian Art: A Run on Oils in China

By staff reporter WU BING

SHAO Jialing is president of an interior decoration company in Heihe, a northern border city cozying up to Russia’s Amurskaya Oblast. His office is decorated with several Russian oil paintings, suggesting a certain cultural sophistication. In recent years locals have developed a great interest in Russian oil paintings, and now fine original works of Russian art are found not only in Heihe, but also in corporate collections, private homes and fine art galleries around the nation.


A Rising Trend

Qin Siying, an art professor from Heihe College, studied fine art in St. Petersburg for two years as a visiting scholar. Upon her return, she started a salon where she regularly exhibited the work of Russian artists. From the time she first opened her doors to the public, Qin noticed that many of her patrons were looking to acquire one or two oil paintings to present as gifts to their newlywed friends, or as house warming gifts.

This new obsession of Chinese people with art and their idealization of European homes have been a catalyst for the run on the market in Russian oil paintings. Another contributing factor is that they range from reasonable to high prices that attract buyers at all levels. The higher priced works cater to the growing numbers of nouveau riche in China, while there are also varieties at more affordable prices appealing to those on limited budgets.

In July 2007, the First Harbin Sun Island Russian Oil Painting Gallery opened its doors to the public. For the next month, about 30 Russian painters turned up, creating paintings on site and sharing their experiences with visitors. The month-long show received roughly 30,000 visitors and sold 124 works amounting to nearly RMB 1 million.

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VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us