The art world never ceases to surprise…

November 14, 2022


A seemingly ordinary blue and white porcelain and enamel dragon vase was consigned by a woman who had never even seen the 21-inch-tall object. She had simply arranged for it to be sold from her late mother’s estate at the France-based Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, France.

In a bidding frenzy the anonymous winning buyer was one of some 30 Chinese bidders who competed for the vase valued at $ 1,900 with the gavel coming down at $ 7.5million! The auctioneer said he had never seen anything comparable as it even exceeded the price of Napoleon’s sabre at the battle of Morengo in 1800. The poor employee responsible for pricing the vase at $1,900 has since been fired from the French auction house for failing to properly identify the value of the work.

The Tianqiuping-style vase
The Tianqiuping-style vase. Courtesy of Osenat

In London two climate activists from the group Just Stop Oil threw a can of tomato soup onto Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888) at the National Gallery. Thankfully, it caused only minor damage to the frame of the painting, which was protected by glass and is unharmed.

Immediately after attacking the work, the pair then glued themselves to the wall beneath the painting. “What is worth more, art or life?” declared one protester. “Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

And in Rome the Vatican will no doubt ramp up security after a disgruntled American tourist who requested an audience with Pope Francis while visiting the Vatican’s Chiaramonti Museum was denied his wish. The man, in his 50s, directed his anger at the nearest ancient bust and sent it crashing to the floor – in the process of trying to flee the scene he managed to smash another sculpture. No one knows why the tourist was so desperate to speak to the Pope but his mental health was under question. Meanwhile, the two damaged artworks are now at a conservation laboratory and the   desperate man has been handed over to the Italian authorities.