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Painting up for auction is not mine, artist says

(China Daily)

09:11, October 20, 2011

SHANGHAI - Record-breaking contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang said a purported painting of his to be auctioned in Beijing was in fact a fake.

The portrait of a young girl was among the modern and contemporary artworks that Beijing Tranthy International Auction Co Ltd had gathered for its autumn auction.

On Tuesday, a Sina micro blogger asked Zhang to authenticate the painting. He replied on the website: "It's a bad fake at first sight. Poorly done. How dare someone put it up for auction."

Zhang, 53, has repeatedly set auction records. He is most famous for his stylized, monochromatic portraits of modern Chinese people. Earlier this year, a triptych, or three-part painting, by Zhang sold for $10 million, a world record auction price for Chinese contemporary art.

Tranthy Auction has withdrawn the piece Zhang identified as fake from the auction and apologized to him.

A source with Tranthy who refused to be named said that on June 2 the painting sold for 1.8 million yuan (then almost $278,000) at Beijing Yinqianshan International Auction House.

The source said that the buyer then submitted it to Tranthy for sale. Tranthy declined to disclose the identity of the client and said it would be cautious in future dealings with him.

However, Wang Xinghua, president of Yinqianshan, told Guangzhou's Nanfang Daily that the painting was auctioned on June 2, but the winning bidder refused to pay for it. The painting was returned to the client who submitted it.

It was unclear why the explanations from the two auction houses differed.

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