Art

$300 Million Worth of Art has Disappeared in China

The works belonged to a German collector

Markus Lüpertz
The missing works include a number of early pieces from artist Markus Lüpertz.
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / November 22, 2019 6:00 am

A $332.2 million art collection has disappeared in China, Artsy reported. The 342-piece collection included works by Renate Graf, Anselm Kiefer, and Markus Lüpertz. The pieces were from the MAP collection belonging to Maria Chen-Tu, a German collector of Taiwanese ancestry.

The works had reportedly been on loan to Chinese businessman Ma Yue, who said he had been responsible for selling the collection and organizing exhibitions of the works in China for a decade. After Yue’s Hamburg-based company, Bell Art, began insolvency proceedings in January, Chen-Tu reportedly made repeated requests for the collection to be returned before alerting Beijing authorities in July.

“I asked that all the works located in China should be returned to my depot in Hong Kong,” Yue told the German outlet Deutschlandfunk. He didn’t comply with my request, I gave him several deadlines. He always ignored the deadlines.”

Among the missing works are early pieces by German postwar artist Markus Lüpertz, who has expressed concern about their condition. “The main problem is that we don’t know where the works are and we don’t know where they are stored and whether they have the necessary protection and care,” he said at a Beijing press conference.

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