<em>Zhongbo Adds a Skyscraper to J.F. Kensett’s Almy’s Pond, Newport</em>, 2009

Clement Valla
Zhongbo Adds a Skyscraper to J.F. Kensett’s Almy’s Pond, Newport, 2009
Oil on canvas, framed email correspondence
19.5 x 23.5 in / 49.5 x 59.7 cm
11.5 x 9 in / 29.2 x 22.9 cm, correspondence

This work is part of a series of collaborations between Clement Valla and various artists working in on-demand painting studios in Wushipu, China. Wushipu is one of the largest “painting villages” in the region, employing upwards of 5,000 artists, who produce on-demand oil paintings—up to 90 a day— predominantly for foreign clients whose only contact with the artist is over the Internet. It has been estimated that over 60% of all contemporary oil paintings, a large portion of them copies of famous Western works, come from such studios in China.

Valla sent two Wushipu artists digital images of two J.F. Kensett’s paintings (c. 1865, 1869). Depicting idyllic ponds in the wealthy enclave of Newport, Rhode Island, the paintings are typical examples of the American sublime landscape genre known as the Hudson River School. Valla asked the artists to copy one of the paintings and to add a building visible from their studio window to the composition.

Here, the paintings are shown alongside framed email correspondence documenting the negotiations between Valla and the artists.

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