Collector Chiu Tat-loy may sue after Fu Baoshi paintings called fake
Christy Choi and Ivan Zhai
Keep saying my paintings are fake and I might sue, says the owner of 15 works of art by master painter Fu Baoshi, after the artist's granddaughter claimed works being displayed at a mall were forgeries.
"I welcome connoisseurs to come, examine and appreciate the paintings," the owner of the paintings, Chiu Tat-loy, said in a statement.
"The paintings by Fu Baoshi currently exhibited at Plaza Hollywood in Hong Kong are authentic and I reserve the right to take legal actions against any claim that the exhibits are fakes," said Chiu, adding that he had contacted his lawyer about taking legal action against Jenny Pat, Fu's granddaughter, who says the paintings are copies.
In a 2006 interview, the 58-year-old Hong Kong-born Chiu said he has donated over HK$800 million worth of art and antiques to museums across China.
Chiu, the largest donor of artefacts to the state since 1949, has been accused of donating fakes before. Visitors to wenwuchina.com a forum for enthusiasts of Chinese cultural relics, claimed the entire collection at the Guangzhou Museum donated by Chiu was fake.
Chiu says the artefacts have been authenticated by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and that the paintings in question were bought in 1978, after they had been authenticated by three experts: Shi Shuqing, Qi Gong and Liu Jiu-um.
Jenny Pat is standing firm in her assessment of the paintings.
"There have been many similar arguments in art circles and generally they don't end with anything definite," she said. "I would rather Chiu sue me because this might let more people learn about his fake paintings."
Pat, 31, also known as Fu Leilei, worked for the China Guardian Auction Company and auction house Christie's for six years and now runs her own gallery in Hong Kong. She said she questioned the paintings as an art expert, not as a relative of Fu.
Last year a painting by another early 20th century master, Xu Beihong, sold for 90 million yuan (HK$112 million) at an auction by the Shanghai Powerlong Auction Company despite being widely considered a fake.
Fu, who died in 1965, is considered one of China's greatest painters. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York described him as "perhaps the most original figure painter and landscapist of China's modern period". According to the Met, Fu often painted while inebriated, in order to be emotionally and physically present in his art.
His work Song of the Pipa Player sold for HK$70.1 million at an auction in November 2010.