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Thursday, 7th June 2012
A pair of Chinese paintings surprised the room when they sold for £8,804 (including buyers premium) at High Road Auctions on Tuesday 5th June. The unassuming works were consigned by a local vendor who knew little about them and at first look they did not attract much attention. Both the silk painting of a landscape with houses (32”x26”) and the watercolour of a river scene (20”x19”) were covered in dust, damaged, and suffering from significant foxing, so a very conservative estimate of £40-60 was pitched to attract bids.
However weekend viewing saw the lot garner significant interest from collectors and condition report requests flooded in from around the world. A Chinese art expert was called in who confirmed that the two works were by Chinese painter Lin Fengmian (1900-1991). Lin Fengmian is considered a pioneer of modern Chinese art known for his fusion of traditional Chinese and Western styles. The artist’s work is highly sought after today but is predominantly offered for auction in Hong Kong and mainland China. The artist’s works are also limited; many of Lin’s early works were destroyed by Japanese soldiers during the Sino-Japanese War and many of his later pieces were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Lin even destroyed many of his own works during this period.
With the artist confirmed the works were now expected to reach £1,000-2,000 taking the condition into account. However the paintings stormed ahead causing a fierce bidding war in the room. Bidding was finally whittled down to an internet bidder and a buyer in the room who it was sold to for £7,100, achieving a house record for a work on paper.