Incredible Tretchikoff | Biography: The Arts
Vladimir Tretchikoff lived a life as colourful as his paintings. Incredible Tretchikoff chronicles the life of this flamboyant artist from his humble beginnings in Russia and China as the son of Russian émigrés to his highly successful exhibitions in the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg and in major cities in America and Britain.
As a young cartoonist he faced deceit in Shanghai and life-threatening situations in a besieged Singapore during World War II. He was nearly killed when the boat he tried to escape on was sunk by the Japanese. Shortly after he was taken prisoner of war in Java and forced to use his artistic skills for Japanese propaganda.
Tretchikoff was reunited with his wife and daughter in Cape Town four years later. It was sheer ambition and willpower that drove him to start a new life here as an artist and to defy the dismissive local art establishment. Within years he was crowned one of the country’s bestselling and most popular artists. That was partly due to his business acumen and flair.
While he became a pop icon in the 1980s he never accepted the title as the King of Kitsch. Recent years have seen a new appreciation for his art with his painting Chinese Girl selling for nearly R14 million in March 2013.