All is not what it seems in the murky world of Chinese art auctions
Put up to auction by Beijing Jiuge Auctions last year, a portrait by the famous artist Xu Beihong of his wife, Jiang Biwei, sold for $11.4 million. The young girl in the painting stands naked against a burgundy backdrop, one leg bent, an elbow crooked behind her back. Her eyes downcast, she looks shy and uncomfortable. A note from his son, Xu Boyang, on the back of the painting attests that it was by his father, although the artist died in 1953.
But Wang Yanqing, a 66-year-old painter from Inner Mongolia, told another story.
“It’s totally laughable,” he said. “That picture doesn’t look anything like Xu Beihong’s wife.” He said the picture was one of several painted by art students in his class at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 1983, 30 years…
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