Painting may have been tossed in trash just after selling for millions


The security guard is an art critic?

A painting that recently sold at auction in Hong Kong for about $3.7 million is feared to have been thrown out in the trash, according to reports from China.

“Snowy Mountain” by contemporary Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo was sold by the Chinese firm Poly Auction at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong. The ink painting, which depicts a snowy mountainscape, sold for 28.8 million Hong Kong dollars.

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Officials in Hong Kong are reportedly searching landfills after the South China Morning Post said security footage shows a guard kicking the painting to a pile of garbage. Janitors then took the garbage away, according to the report.

The work of art was sold Monday, and the following day Poly Auction reported the painting missing.

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.

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It remains unclear whether the cleaning crew or security staff worked for the hotel or the auctioneer. A hotel representative told Reuters that hotel staff was not involved because auctioneers typically hire their own staff.

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.

In 2001 a Damien Hirst gallery installation in England featuring ashtrays, coffee cups and other detritus was mistaken for actual trash and was cleaned up by a janitorial crew.


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