Asked for tea, Sarich noticed some interesting ceramics art on display in the house but was especially attracted by a painting that was hanging in the hall. The painting, which had not been attributed much value, was in need of some obvious cleaning but was otherwise in good condition following its 60 years adventurous journey first from China to Denmark and then from home to home as it changed houses and owners. Strangely enough none of the visitors to the Lorenz’s property had paid attention to the inner quality of what was soon to be declared a world masterpiece.
Puzzled by the beauty that the painting transpired and by the obviously masterly hand that had created it, Sarich decided to investigate further. He noticed that the artist had forced the viewer to concentrate his attention to the basket of fish, bending the female figures in such a way that the view would be trapped by the main subject of the design. The creation of a focus of attention is characteristic of a great hand. Another strong characteristics that pointed to a major artwork was the similarity of the painting with work by Modigliani, a world famous XIX Century artist. The oil colours used added to this thought.
Sarich reasoned that the creator of the artwork must have visited Europe and perhaps had met with artists of the school of Paris of which Modigliani was one of the members together with Chagall, Fujita and others.
The task was not easy as it implied the translation of Chinese symbols to discover the name of the artist. He decided to write to Christies Hong Kong which asked for the painting to be transferred to Hong Kong without disclosing the name of the artist. Not satisfied with the reply Sarich continued its search. His son's Chinese girl-friend provided the answer that led to the identification of the author. It was also learnt that the artist had effectively been to Europe in the 20's studying with his contemporaries.
The rest is history. The painting was cleaned and put for sale at Sothebys with an estimate of 350,000 USD. In an exciting competition and in a period of extreme economic uncertainty, it quickly moved up to reach the world record of 2.1 million USD.
Trust art for what it gives: pleasure and also nice returns. The newly called “Fishing Harvest” is now in the hands of a private collector, but should it be back to market in 10 or 20 years, it is bound to fetch a multiple of what it cost in 2009. It is simply a beautiful masterpiece and an exciting discovery.
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The Deruta Newsletter specializes in ceramics and is published under the Patronage of the Deruta Borough