Cleaner may have thrown away €2.5m painting
On Monday, a delicate ink painting called “Snowy Mountain” by the Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo sold for HK$28.8M (€2.5m) in Hong Kong.
By Tuesday, the painting had been lost and closed circuit television suggested it had been thrown out by a cleaner.
Hong Kong police are now searching for it in a rubbish dump in the city’s northern district of Tuen Mun.
In a statement, they said the painting had not been stolen, and they were classifying it as “lost property”.
The debacle unfolded after an auction by Poly, the largest auction house in mainland China, at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
"Snowy Mountain” was the second most expensive item sold at the auction, that featured 28 of Mr Cui’s ink paintings. Another of his works, “Landscape in Snow” sold for HK$184 million.
“The police checked the CCTV footage but have not told us what happened,” said a spokesman for the Grand Hyatt. “I do not know if it was thrown in the bin by a cleaner, and if it was, I do not know if the cleaner worked for the hotel, for a separate agency, or for Poly”. Poly did not return a request for a comment.
The Hong Kong media said the police spotted the painting sitting next to a pile of rubbish that was later thrown away.