Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Irate Phone Customer

Christie’s record breaking three-day auction of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, earned more than $484 million, but has not escaped controversy. Two bronze fountainheads from the auction, taken from China’s Summer Imperial Palace in 1860, sold for $18 million each to a telephone bidder, who remained anonymous at the close of the auction. Prior to the auction, China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage urged Christie’s to cancel the auction, and dozens of protestors stood outside the auction and handed out pamphlets demanding the return of the looted objects. Cai Mingchao, an adviser to a Chinese foundation, has just revealed that he was the buyer of the fountainheads and he refuses to pay for them. He considers his winning bid to be an act of patriotism. Christie’s has made no comment. (primary source: The Guardian)