Ye Yongqing accused of plagiarising a Belgium artist's work for 30 years

Nevertheless, while an original copy of Silvain's sells for only€5,000 to €15,000. A painting signed by Yongqing can auctioned for up to €400,000 at Sotheby's and Christie's. Surprisingly, these plagiarised works were actually created after Ye earned international fame.


▲Ye Yongqing's painting on the left andChristian Silvain's painting on the right (RTBF)

Belgium artist Christian Silvain discovered his artworks were plagiarised by the influential Chinese artist and curator Ye Yongqing. Silvain states that Ye has copied his works for more than 30 years and earned millions from it. The copied works look exactly like the original ones. Only some details were modified by Ye.

Silvain told the Dutch language newspaper Brussels Het Laatste (BHL): "I do not have to do it for the money, but I find it frustrating. It is as if art itself has become less important than money. If I ever got the money that Yongqing earned with my work, I would give it away. "

The fraud first came to light when Silvain's friend saw Ye Yongqing's exhibition in Brussels. "One day I got a phone call from a gallery owner in Amsterdam. They saw a work of mine, but the quality was not as good as my usual ones. When I saw it myself, I knew immediately that something was wrong, " Silvain told BHL.

Jos Depypere, the permanent gallery owner who works with Silvain, demonstrated that Silvain started to make paintings of the style six years before Ye. They think that Yongqing attended an exhibition of Silvain in Paris or obtained a catalogue of Silvain's work. Only then did he start working in the same style.


▲©Lieke D'hondt:Christian Silvain with his painting

However, confronting the well-celebrated Chinese artist can be difficult. Silvaintold BHL: "He is now an important Chinese artist and curator with strong influence in the Chinese art scene, so going against him wouldn’t be easy." Silvain has asked the SABAM to intervene in order to remove the painting from the exhibition and stop the sale of Ye's paintings in Europe. But so far, he has no intention to start a trial in China.

Silvain said in an interview with RTBF: "I think a trial is not necessary, because what we want for all is to stop it. We don't want to sue him for a possible few millions, because that does not interest me. However, for now, the sales still continue.”

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