The euphoria did not last long, though. An art critic, Mou Jianping (牟建平), soon suggested that the work might be fake, and the bidder decided not to pay. Two years later, the buyer has effectively defaulted on the item.
Liu declined to comment on the failed sale.
However, in an interview last month, China Guardian director and vice president Kou Qin (寇勤) described the nonpayment problem in the market as “a very bad phenomenon,” but one that will be fought. His company reduced its nonpayment rate for the most expensive items to 17 percent last year.
“Lack of honor,” he said. “It is a problem faced by the whole of society.”
Additional reporting by Jo Craven McGinty