Hunt is on for owner of US$5,000 Liu Guosong painting abandoned at Hong Kong bus stop

Print of work by Taiwanese artist spotted at airport-bus stop was sold at a fair in the city this week. An expert says it is worth up to US$5,000

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 March, 2015, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 March, 2015, 7:22pm

A contemporary artwork sold in Hong Kong this week by a Taipei art gallery has been found abandoned at a city bus stop.

The work, covered in bubble wrap, was spotted by Cheung Shuk-ha, an office assistant at the Asia Art Archive in Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, at the Queen Street bus stop on Connaught Road West in Sheung Wan when she caught a bus to the airport on Thursday evening. She knew immediately it was a work by Taiwanese ink artist Liu Guosong - some of whose works have sold for more than HK$500,000 at auction - and alerted colleagues.

“I was able to identify the work because I’ve been at the archive for so long, and have spent so much time with images and works from the artist,” said Cheung, who has worked at the AAA for four years.

The work, a print of one of Liu's paintings, was taken back to the AAA's special collection, where it was under lock and key on Friday. An envelope found with the artwork confirmed it was a Liu Guosong print, and had been sold by the Capital Art Centre gallery in Taipei at this week’s Asia Contemporary Art Show at the Conrad Hotel.

Art adviser Jehan Chu, director of Vermillion Art Collections, who has examined the print, said it was from an edition of 99 prints and would be worth up to US$5,000. "The artist is experiencing a [boom] in popularity and so the print will definitely increase in value,"  Chu said. "Liu Guosong's original ink paintings have increased in value by 20 to 25 per cent in the last year alone."

On Friday a man who said he was from Beijing called the AAA to say the print was his. He refused to give his name or leave a phone number and said only that he would call back.

Michelle Wong, a researcher at the AAA who has worked at the archives for three years, said this was the first time she’d ever heard about something like this happening:

“We never thought this could happen. To pick up something like this from a bus top… It’s amazing that our office assistant was aware enough and knowledgeable [enough] to recognise the work, or else we never would have found it.”