Chapter 628 The Astounded Appraiser
Qin Haodong said, “Of course it’s true. Manager Tian, I am not joking with you.”
Realizing that he had lost his composure, Tian Ye hurriedly said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Qin. I’m just too shocked. Please forgive me.”
“It doesn’t matter. Is it convenient for your appraiser to come and appraise it for me now?”
“No problem. I’ll bring the appraiser with me. Please wait a moment.”
Tian Ye hung up and immediately asked someone to call the appraiser Zhang Zhaohui.
As the owner of the largest auction house in Hong Kong, he had more than a dozen appraisers and Zhang Zhaohui was the among the top experts, who was best at appraising ancient European paintings.
“Manager, what can I do for you? I’m about to get off work. Are you asking me to work overtime?”
A young man in his thirties came in. He was Zhang Zhaohui. He had a good relationship with Tian Ye, so he dared to speak so casually to him.
Tian Ye said, “Take your tools and come with me. There is an important collection that you need to appraise.”
Zhang Zhaohui said, “Can’t we do it tomorrow? I have arranged to meet a beautiful girl today and it took a lot of persuasion on my part to get her to agree.”
“Of course we can’t wait.” Tian Ye pulled him and walked out. As he walked, he said, “The person who asked us to do the appraisal is a distinguished guest. We must serve him well.”
They got in the car and drove in the direction of the Li family villa.
“These rich people really don’t care whether we have a life or not.” Zhang Zhaohui sat in the passenger seat, vented his dissatisfaction and asked, “What are we going to identify this time?”
“A painting of Picasso.”
Zhang Zhaohui, who was slouched in the seat suddenly sat up straight and then laid back again, like a deflated ball. He said, “How is that possible? These days, who will take out Picasso’s painting to sell? I guess this stupid rich man must have been deceived by someone. He managed to get a painting and claims it’s Picasso’s work.”
It was not surprising for him to make such a statement. As the chief appraiser of the auction house, he had seen many rich people being cheated by those charlatans over the years. They spent a lot of money to buy a pile of fake works.
Tian Ye said, “I don’t know if it’s genuine or not, so I brought you with me. Let me tell you, this is a VIP that the old man particularly likes. You must be careful when you speak and you must be respectful.”
As a manager, Tian Ye was still a professional, so he did not reveal Qin Haodong’s identity. Soon they came to the Li family villa and went to Qin Haodong’s room, led by Zhang Tieniu.
Knowing that there were guests coming, Nalan Wushuang went inside to cultivate. Qin Haodong was alone in the room.
“Boss, I brought them here.”
Zhang Tieniu said and stood respectfully behind Qin Haodong.
Tian Ye said, “Mr. Qin, this is Zhang Zhaohui, the chief auctioneer of our auction house. He is particularly good at appraising ancient paintings from Europe.”
“Please take a seat.” After Qin Haodong asked them to sit down, he reached out to take a painting on the table. It was the naked drawing Nalan Wushuang had just seen.
“Mr. Zhang, please help to ascertain if this painting is a genuine work of Picasso’s.”
After that, he handed the sketch to Zhang Zhaohui.
Since the moment he saw Qin Haodong, Zhang Zhaohui had held him in disdain. He thought that Qin Haodong must have been deceived by someone. In his opinion, Qin Haodong’s painting was definitely not the real work of art.
However, as a professional appraiser, he still had the basic qualities. He looked very serious. He took out a pair of white gloves from his pocket, put them on, took Qin Haodong’s painting and then took out a magnifying glass to check.
At first, Zhang Zhaohui did not pay much attention to it, but when he saw the painting, he immediately became serious.
He did not check what was on the painting initially. Instead, he first looked at the sketch paper and gently folded it with his hand to feel the hardness and flexibility of the paper. This was a procedure that an excellent appraiser usually followed.
After checking the material of the sketch paper, Zhang Zhaohui’s expression became even more serious. He was sure that the sketch paper in his hand was produced in Europe in the 40s and 50s of the last century. He thought it absolutely could not fool his eyes.
Now he could be sure that even if this drawing was not Picasso’s work, it had been copied in the last century. From this point of view, it could be regarded as an ancient painting.
Tian Ye was watching from the side and his expression became serious. He had worked with Zhang Zhaohui for many years and he had seen some clues from his friend’s expression. Now it seemed that Qin Haodong’s painting was not an ordinary one. It might be really a masterpiece.
“Jacqueline, this is Jacqueline!”
When Zhang Zhaohui turned his eyes to the naked woman on the painting, he immediately screamed and attracted everyone’s attention.
Hearing the noise outside, Nalan Wushuang was not in the mood to cultivate. She came to the door and eavesdropped. She also wanted to see if the ancient European paintings made by Qin Haodong could still be passed off as the genuine ones.
Zhang Tieniu stood behind Qin Haodong and could not help sneering. These Hong Kong people were really ignorant. Why were they getting so worked up merely by a painting of a naked woman?
Have they not seen a naked woman before?
Zhang Tieniu was a layman, but Tian Ye knew a little about this. When he heard the name, he immediately realized that the woman in the picture was Picasso’s last wife.
In Picasso’s entire life, he had many women and Jacqueline was his last wife. During the eight years that they had been together, although this old man had a mistress, Jacqueline accepted this fact. They continued to stay together to complete the final period of Picasso’s life.
Jacqueline created a warm world for Picasso during his twilight years and he often found inspiration from her and drew a lot of portraits of her.
Thirteen years after Picasso’s death, Jacqueline committed suicide. After her death, the sketches and oil paintings Picasso drew of her appeared in the auction market and the value of these paintings rose at that time.
It could be said that these paintings, which were related to Jacqueline, helped elevate the works of Picasso to a higher level.
Qin Haodong did not know anything about the woman in the painting either. He was not interested in anyone. He just wanted to know if there were any flaws in these ancient paintings.
“Mr. Zhang, what do you think about it?”
Zhang Zhaohui, who was immersed in the painting, came to his senses. He carefully put down the painting in his hand, grabbed Qin Haodong’s arm and shouted excitedly, “I assure you with the reputation of my appraiser that this painting is absolutely real. It must have come from Picasso and it is his wife’s portrait.
“Mr. Qin, can you tell me where this painting came from?”
Nalan Wushuang, who stood behind the door, had a smile on her face. It seemed that Qin Haodong had succeeded again this time.
Qin Haodong was also very happy. He smiled and said, “This is what I just drew.”
“Uh…” Zhang Zhaohui looked embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Qin. I was too excited and intruded on your privacy.”
As an excellent appraiser, it was taboo to ask about the origin of the collection.
Even in the international art market, the origins of private transactions were never important and the higher-ups paid more attention to their personal privacy.
Because of this, in Zhang Zhaohui’s opinion, Qin Haodong was mocking him. No matter what, he would not realize that this was the truth.
“It’s fine.” Qin Haodong took three more paintings and said, “Help me authenticate these paintings as well.”
He had imitated Picasso’s works and drew 40 paintings. Among them, 10 were portraits of human forms, 10 were children’s portraits, 10 were still life paintings and 10 were oil paintings. He took out one from each group and asked Zhang Zhaohui to appraise it.
Zhang Zhaohui was shocked at first. Each of Picasso’s works was very valuable now. It was amazing to have the fortune to collect one. He didn’t expect that Qin Haodong would take out four of them at once.
He took the three paintings eagerly and began to examine them carefully.
Tian Ye also looked shocked. Yesterday, Qin Haodong said that he had some paintings of Picasso, but he did not expect that he really had more than one painting.
If he knew that there were 36 such paintings in Qin Haodong’s drawer, he would have been astounded.
Zhang Zhaohui examined the paintings very carefully. After ten minutes, he raised his head and said excitedly, “Mr. Qin, you are so amazing. I can assure you that these paintings are all authentic works of Mr. Picasso and they are very well preserved. There is no flaw at all.”
Nalan Wushuang almost burst out laughing behind the door. She said in her heart, “These paintings have just been freshly created. All in all, they have been preserved for less than a few hours. Of course, they are still intact.”
After confirming that there were no flaws, Qin Haodong also breathed a sigh of relief. He said, “I don’t know much about art works. Can you help me estimate how much these paintings are worth?”
Tian Ye said, “The works of art can only be estimated and there is no specific price. About five years ago, there were seven sketch albums of Picasso at an auction. At that time, it was sold for 8 million US dollars.
“Although you only have four of them, they include all kinds of paintings. If they are made into a painting book, taking into consideration the rise of the works of art in recent years, the value should be about 10 million to 15 million dollars.”
“They are worth so much money?”
Qin Haodong was shocked by the number. Although he knew Picasso was very famous, he did not expect his paintings to be so valuable.
Zhang Zhaohui took over the topic and said, “Picasso is a real art genius. The 20th century belongs to him. No other artists’ styles can be as varied as his.”
“Although he was a high-yield painter who had created more than 60,000 works in his life, compared with the number of people who collected paintings in this world, this number was really too small.”
“At the time when Picasso was still alive, tens of thousands of his works had already been taken by others and there was basically no circulation of his works on the market.”
“And it is also because of this that the value of his paintings is very high.”