Is China too close ?By Director Ferruccio Gard

All of you know, one of the most famous painting by Modigliani, “Nu Cloché” (laying down nude), painted by the artist from Livorno between 1917 and 1918, flew to China after having sold at Christie’s, New York, for the stratospheric price of 170 million dollars. The buyer, initially anonymous, revealed his name. His name is Liu Yigian, 52 year old, until yesterday almost unknown internationally, but who is one of the richest men of the ex-celestial Empire. He’s a self-made man: during the 80s he was boiling fake leather handbags in a basement of Shanghai. To pay the rent, he was driving a cab without authorization. In conclusion, a character. However, considering that in China there is quite a lot of upstarts who crave to show outrageously their richness, in Europe a certain alarm is growing. It may look like a paradox; tycoons who buy paintings and sculptures should represent good news, since they turn over and help to grow the art market. Careful observers suppose that, behind this, there is a plan, suggested and supported by the regime: to make China the world capital of art and culture. Several are the masterpieces bought by Chinese collectors who, somebody says, do not even consider pieces under a million dollars. Some of the recent purchases, “L’allée des Alyscampas” by Van Gogh, auctioned by Sotheby’s for 66.3 million pounds, “Vase with daisies and poppies” also by Van Gogh, 61.8 million dollars, “Bassin aux nympheas les rosiers” by Monet, 20.4 million dollars, etc. etc. So, not anymore Tibetan mastiffs costing 2 million dollars and delivered by a Rolls-Royce, but art instead. Obviously, they are designing also gigantic museums considering that who will be interested to see modern and contemporary art’s masterpieces won’t go to New York or Europe anymore, but to Shanghai and Beijing. Chinese people, with no intention to be offensive, masters of fakes, look now to be intentioned to copy...authentically. Nothing to say, it’s all about competition, but somebody started to worry, fearing that our cultural and artistic identity could be dumped. Did China become too...close?