Read this before you buy anything from Leonid Afremov!
Do not expect to receive the painting on the web site.
You will receive a poor copy.
First of all, he died of heart attack on August 19, 2019, although his family has decided to maintain his web site as if he were still painting away in his studio. As such, you might imagine you are actually buying his original paintings, but in fact you will only be buying something created by a family member or employee, or possibly duplicated in China.
His web site continues to offer “Artworks created and signed by Leonid Afremov” but clearly he stopped signing paintings last year, and his signature is now more of brand name than the signature of an actual man. Given the vast number of paintings they offer at rock-bottom prices, it is almost certain that nothing he actually signed is still for sale there. They used to offer his actual originals at prices of $1,500 to $7,500 or more, but those have all vanished from the site.
Leonid Afremov was obviously a talented and prolific artist with a very distinctive style, but for many years his business has operated on a dishonest, bait-and-switch model that would be the envy of any con man.
His web site offers original oil paintings and recreations of those paintings. Unfortunately it seems that they also view the “recreations” as “original oil paintings”, and the distinction between the two is deliberately obscure on the website.
Documented here are two of my dealings with the Afremovs over the past 5 years. You might think I would learn from one bad experience, but apparently not…
This story begins in October, 2011, when I attempted to buy this painting from Leonid Afremov:
This painting was, at that time, entitled “Walk in the rain” (though it is now appears by another name, “Late Stroll – Miami“). I believed I was buying the original on Afremov.com. I noticed that he was selling a lot of “recreations” of his paintings, so I asked if what I was buying was the original:
When I received the painting I realized it was a recreation, not the original. It was a somewhat reasonable recreation, though lacking in a lot of the detail of the original.
The painting I received:
So I contacted them by email:
The reply seemed to suggest that the name on the certificate of authenticity was the problem, not the fact that I had not received what I thought I was buying:
Eventually I gave up- I was busy, and it really didn’t seem worth the trouble. I subsequently received hundreds of promotional emails, and at one point I bought another painting, knowing it was a recreation, but it was such a disappointment that I just put it in storage, where it remains to this day.
Fast forward to February 12, 2018:
I was attracted to this painting that was listed as an “original oil painting” and discounted at that time to a very low price.
For the most part his recreations say, somewhere in the description, that they are recreations, as in this example:
In addition to the low price, I had been sent a discount code by email, so I applied it. I paid for the painting, but then I realized that this was too good to be true, so I decided I had better make sure I was not buying a recreation. Here is the transcript of the online chat that followed:
So I made another payment so that I could receive the actual original painting. But guess what? When the painting arrived, it was a poor recreation:
The painting I received:
You will notice that they did not even bother to paint the rigging on the boats.
Below is my email to them, as well as the reply I received:
As you can see, the reply suggests that there was confusion that led to the shipping of a recreation, but now, more than 3 weeks later, I still have not received a painting… They did promptly refund my money, for which I am very grateful, and I am willing to entertain the possibility that they are simply very busy and disorganized. If I every receive the original I will be more than happy to pay them every cent. Meanwhile, I think they need to be much more explicit on their web site regarding what they are selling, and they need to learn a little more about customer relations. When you have a conversation in which you make your preferences very explicit, such as I have documented above, and you have the same outcome on two different occasions, it becomes evident that there is a problem on their end!
I am not the only one who has had these sorts of experiences. Here are some examples from another web site:
Or this one…