Be careful who you let clean the auction house. Keep your eye on the security guard. Especially if the security guard has no eye for artwork work millions of dollars. Better yet, if you just coughed up millions for artwork, keep it tucked under your arm.
It appears that a painting that recently sold at auction in Hong Kong for almost $4 million may have been thrown out in the trash the same day it was sold. Oops!
The painting, now missing, is called “Snowy Mountain” by contemporary Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo. Snowy Mountain was sold by the Chinese firm Poly Auction at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong. The ink painting sold for 28.8 million Hong Kong dollars.
So where is the painting right now?
Authorities are reportedly searching landfills after security footage shows security guard kicking the painting to a pile of garbage. The footage later showed Janitors then took the garbage away leading everyone to believe the million dollar art work is now in a landfill somewhere.
The work of art was sold Monday, Poly Auction reported the painting missing the next day.
Police in Hong Kong have found no traces of the painting so far. The Grand Hyatt said it is cooperating with authorities, but the hotel’s statement sent to media said the auction house is ultimately responsible.
It is not clear whether the cleaning crew or security staff worked for the hotel or the auctioneer. A hotel representative says that hotel staff was not involved because auctioneers typically hire their own staff when they stage events in hotels or other venues.
The art world has had a few high-profile instances of modern works being mistaken for garbage. Earlier this year, a cleaning woman in Italy threw out parts of an art installation that she thought was rubbish. The incident occurred at an art show in the city of Bari.
A gallery in England featuring ashtrays, coffee cups and other items was mistaken for actual trash and was cleaned up by a janitorial crew.
There is no word on the next step, who the owner is, and whether the artwork is insured or actually paid for.
For now, the whereabouts of the painting is a mystery. It has to be somewhere… in landfill, a hotel room, a dumpster, a car trunk, or even already on someone’s library wall.
I am sure they will someday find it if they keep looking. Maybe.
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