Vladimir Grigoryevich Tretchikoff (13 December 1913 – 26 August 2006) was one of the most commercially successful artists of all time – his painting Chinese Girl (popularly known as “The Green Lady”) is one of the best selling art prints of the twentieth century.
Tretchikoff was a self-taught artist who painted realistic figures, portraits, still life and animals, with subjects often inspired by his early life in China, Singapore and Indonesia, and later life in South Africa.
His work was immensely popular with the general public, but is often seen by art critics as the epitome of kitsch (nicknamed the “King of Kitsch”).
He worked in oil, watercolour, ink, charcoal and pencil but is best known for his reproduction prints which sold worldwide in huge numbers.
According to his biographer Boris Gorelik, writing in Incredible Tretchikoff, the reproductions were so popular that it was rumoured that Tretchikoff was the world’s richest artist after Picasso.
The Chinese Girl
Although Tretchikoff spent his early years in China, this portrait was painted in Cape Town in 1952. Possibly the best known of all Tretchikoff’s paintings.
The original sold for almost $1.5 million (£982,050) at Bonhams auction house in London on 20 March 2013. Since 30 November the same year, it has been on public display at Delaire Graff Estate near Stellenbosch, South Africa.