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Alleged fake painting sold for millions (3)

(Global Times)

15:46, September 18, 2011

Lü Lixin, a scholar studying Xu's paintings at Tsinghua University's Academy of Arts & Design, said that photos of Jiang Biwei showed she was not the woman depicted in the painting.

As of press time on Friday, there was no reported response from the buyer of the painting and no assessment of the painting was reported.

Zhao Li, director of Chinese Modern & Contemporary Art Document Research Center, told the Global Times that mistakes can be made when identifying and evaluating art works, but that the crucial problem was the lack of an official authority to certify the authenticity of any artwork.

"There is no strict and standardized assessment mechanism for art appraisal in China. Once a work is discovered to be fake, there is no regulation to stipulate which party should shoulder the responsibility and face punishment," Zhao said.

According to the country's Auction Law, auctioneers are not allowed to promise the authenticity or the quality of the products, which is believed to exempt auction companies from taking the blame.

But according to rules in the Chinese auction industry, the auction company is obliged to refund products if at least three experts identify the work as a counterfeit, Zhao said, adding that there is no set compensation amount stipulated.

Zhao said with Chinese art taking pole position in many auctions around the world and with rising prices, such events as fake fine art sales have been grabbing more and more attention.

In 2010, China accounted for 33 percent of global fine art sales, followed by the US, the UK and France, according to a report by Artprice.com, a leading French art appraisal website.

"A good fine art auction would amount to tens of millions of yuan now. Prices are soaring so dramatically that a mistake will mean huge costs for a buyer. It is more urgent now than ever to regulate the industry so as to reduce losses," Zhao said.

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