1st Art Gallery promises "museum quality handmade oil painting reproductions" and that its paintings "start and end with quality." It offers "100% satisfaction guaranteed."
However, what I received was schlock -- just awful, really. When I asked for a refund, I was told that my request was "immoral." Odd, because I thought it was immoral to take a guy's money and then present him with crap. The painting was so amateurish as to be an embarrassment to the gallery.
Except that the gallery wasn't embarrassed.
The story: About 3 weeks before Christmas I ordered from 1st Gallery a reproduction of the painting "Joan of Arc" by French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage. My fiancee loves the original, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, and both of us have been privileged to study "Joan" in person. It is breathtaking. I asked for the painting to be rushed because Christmas was drawing near, and I wanted to present it as a gift for my fiancee. I knew she would be excited.
My heart sank after the painting arrived and I removed it from its mailing tube. If it had been a horse, I would have shot it. The subtleties of the original are gone. The colors are wrong. Joan's face, so captivating and wondrous in Bastien-Lepage's work, looks to have been drawn by an 8-year-old. The spirits that should mystically hover behind Joan instead appear menacing and heavy, as if they are about to mug her instead of inspire her.
Instead I was told via email that a refund was "not possible" and that I was being "immoral" to even "dare to ask" for a refund because I had asked for a rush order.
Any number of steps could have been taken to avoid this mess. 1st Gallery could have rejected my rush order. 1st Gallery could have assigned the painting to a better artist. 1st Gallery could have recognized that the finished product was inferior, notified me by email and offered the choice of another attempt by a better artist or my money back.
None of those things occurred.
I might just frame the hideous thing and display it in a prominent place in my house accompanied by a placard: God-awful artwork courtesy 1st Art Gallery on the internet.