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Sun, Aug 05, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Art gallery wins NT$3.6 million suit over fake painting

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taipei art gallery has won a suit for the recovery of the NT$3.6 million it paid for a fake oil painting purported to be the work of noted Chinese painter Wu Guan Zhong (吳冠中).

The Taipei District Court recently determined that a painting sold to the Chuanchinchai Gallery (倦勤齋) in Taipei was a fake and requested that the man who sold the painting to the gallery give the money for the sale back.

The dispute began in November 1999 when a broker approached the gallery. Bringing with him a collection of Wu's paintings, the man offered the gallery the "original" of A Night on the Sea by the painter for NT$3.6 million. Wu, a leading figure in the development of 20th-century Chinese painting, is one of the few Chinese artists to establish a reputation both in China and the West. His paintings are often a synthesis of traditional Chinese and Western techniques.

However, the gallery eventually discovered its copy was a fake and that the original is now owned by Kenwei Trading Corp in Singapore. The gallery took the case to the Taipei District Court last year.

At the trial, the defendant argued that he had sold the original and that the gallery might have switched the original with a fake.

However, the gallery presented to the court an authorized statement by the 82-year-old painter confirming that the original painting is owned by the Kenwei Trading Corp in Singapore.

Moreover, the general manger of the Singapore company came to Taiwan and testified in early July that the copy was very different from the original it owns.

The court ruled that the man must pay NT$ 3.6 million to the gallery, but he is still allowed to appeal his case to the Taiwan High Court.

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