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As I write, the sale has yet to take place, but whatever it fetches, much of the art cognoscenti will deem it grossly over-priced.

Vettriano might be unloved by art critics but such is his massive public appeal that he has been dubbed the People’s Painter. It’s been estimated that the former miner now earns around £500,000 annually just from royalty fees from the sale of reproductions on everything from posters to biscuit tins.

What if you want an original painting loosely in the Vettriano genre but your cheque book won’t stretch to a Vettriano five-figure price tag? Perhaps the answer lies in the canvases of Russian-born realist painter Valery Koroshilov, whose work, including The Masquerade, pictured right, priced at £3100, can be found on the stand of The Garden of Eden at The 9th Annual Chelsea Art Fair, which opens this Thursday (22nd) for a four-day run at Chelsea Old Town Hall in London’s Kings Road.

Koroshilov, like Vettriano, had no formal art school training. Having launched his career in 1992 with a successful exhibition in Amsterdam, he moved to London in 1996 where his work is proving popular.

Although Koroshilov’s work does not have the strong sexual undercurrent seen in so many of Vettriano’s compositions, there are similarities in their work, particularly in the use of strongly contrasting light and shadow and the blunt-edged style of painting.