Fred said, “How about this? Show me this painting. After all, we have the most cooperation with the Li family’s auction house. Since it is sent by the Li family, we have to show some respect for them.”
Cisse agreed and handed the painting to Fred.
Fred took the painting scroll, tore open the wrapping and then unfolded it on the table. When he opened it halfway, Jacqueline’s naked upper body was exposed.
As Sir Owen’s chief steward, he was also a knowledgeable and talented person, especially when it came to antiques. Although he had only unraveled half of the painting, he already recognized that this was Picasso’s wife, Jacqueline.
Suddenly, his body seemed to be struck by lightning. His whole body began to tremble slightly and he carefully peeled away the rest of the packaging of the scroll.
He opened the whole painting and saw the complete picture of Jacqueline. He was sure that this was Picasso’s painting. He shouted excitedly, “Perfect, it’s really perfect!”
Sir Owen poured himself a glass of red wine and slowly sipped it. After hearing what Fred said, he said with dissatisfaction, “My dear, it’s just a painting. How can you lose your composure like this? We have all kinds of ancient paintings in our treasure room.”
“No, we really don’t have any paintings like this!” Fred cried excitedly. “Sir, this is Picasso’s painting. Look, this is Jacqueline!”
After hearing what Fred said, Sir Owen immediately put down the wine glass in his hand and said with a look of disbelief, “Fred, you’re joking with me. This is not what a gentleman should do.”
“Sir Owen, How could I joke with you? Look, this is Jacqueline.”
After making sure that Fred was not joking with him, Sir Owen walked over quickly. When he saw the painting in front of him, he became extremely excited.
“Oh my god, could it be that my sincerity touched God so much that he sent me a painting of Picasso?”
Sir Owen took a white glove from a servant and put it on. Then, he began to scrutinize the painting carefully.
A few minutes later, he shouted excitedly, “My dear Fred, I’m sure this is an authentic painting of Picasso’s. It’s so perfect.”
Although he was not a professional appraiser, he had collected countless antiques and treasures over the years and had some experience in the appraisal of ancient paintings.
Fred said, “Sir, just in case, let’s find the appraiser Garrard.”
“You’re right. This is Picasso’s painting. We can’t be too careless.” Sir Owen took a deep breath, calmed himself down and said to a servant next to him, “Please ask Mr. Garrard to come over as soon as possible.”
The servant responded and walked out of the living room quickly. A few minutes later, he came in with a Caucasian man with blond hair and blue eyes. He was Sir Owen’s private treasure appraiser, Garrard.
Although Garrard was a personal appraiser of Sir Owen, he had a very high reputation in the field of international antiques appraisals. So far, there had never been any mistakes in the works he had identified.
After entering the living room, Garrard saw how excited Sir Owen and Fred were and asked in confusion, “Dear Sir, did you find any treasure?”
Sir Owen said excitedly, “Garrard, come and have a look. It’s Picasso’s painting, it’s Picasso’s painting!”
Hearing that there was a painting of Picasso, Garrard was also caught up in the excitement. He quickly walked to the table, took out a pair of white gloves and magnifying glass from his pocket and began to check the painting carefully.
After five minutes had passed, Sir Owen could not hold back any longer. He asked, “My dear Garrard, hurry and tell me if this is an authentic piece of artwork.”
Garrard stood up and said with an excited expression, “Sir, I can swear to God that this is definitely Picasso’s work.”
Sir Owen shouted excitedly, “That’s great, that’s great. I’ve finally obtained a Picasso’s painting.”
Fred was quite calm and said, “Sir, have you forgotten that this painting does not belong to you now, but to Mr. Qin, who is waiting outside the door?”
Sir Owen patted his forehead and yelled, “My God, forgive me. I’m letting the distinguished guests wait outside the door. My dear Fred, let’s go out together and invite our most distinguished guests in.”
Outside the manor, Uncle Cheng said to Qin Haodong, “Mr. Qin, Mr. Owen is very distinguished. Are you sure that he will meet us after he sees the painting?”
“Uncle Cheng, don’t worry. I believe that Sir Owen will come out to welcome us soon.”
According to the information Qin Haodong obtained from Tian Ye, this Mr. Owen was very eager to get his hands on a painting by Picasso. He believed that he would come out to welcome Qin Haodong after seeing the painting.
While they were talking, the door suddenly opened. Sir Owen came out in a hurry with Fred and Garrard, followed by four or five servants.
Sir Owen came to Qin Haodong, put one hand on his chest, bent his head slightly and made a standard gentleman’s salute.
“Mr. Qin, please forgive me for being impolite to you.”
Qin Haodong said, “Sir Owen, nice to meet you.”
“Dear sir, please come with me.”
With this welcome from Sir Owen and a group of servants, Qin Haodong and Nalan Wushuang walked into the manor together.
Uncle Cheng’s face was full of shock. He was very clear about the status of Sir Owen in Hong Kong. He did not understand what magic Qin Haodong had used to make him personally welcome him.
As the steward of the Li family, he naturally knew that it was not suitable for him to participate in such an occasion, so he did not go into Sir Owen’s manor. Instead, he returned to the car and waited.
After entering the living room, Sir Owen warmly treated Qin Haodong and Nalan Wushuang to a glass of good red wine. Then he said with a smile, “Dear Qin, your painting is so perfect.”
“I’ve always been eager to have a painting of Picasso. I would like to ask you how you can bear to part with it, or according to a Huaxia saying, you must be reluctantly giving up your love.”
Although Mr. Owen was a citizen of Britain, he had grown up in Hong Kong. Not only did he speak the Huaxia language very well, but he also knew a lot about the culture of Huaxia. He even used idioms.
Qin Haodong said, “Of course I can. I’ve heard that Sir Owen has quite a lot of antiques from Huaxia, so I want to exchange some antiques with you.”
Sir Owen said, “Mr. Qin, I’m very willing to be your friend and exchange some collections with you. Do you have anything specific in mind?”
Qin Haodong spread out his hands and said, “I don’t know, because I don’t know what kind of collections you have.”
According to what Tian Ye had said, he did not directly tell Sir Owen the purpose of his visit.
“It does not matter. I can let you choose. As long as the item is suitable, we can make a deal that will satisfy us.”
Sir Owen said to Fred, “Bring us the file of our collection and let Mr. Qin choose.”
After he finished speaking, Fred turned around and went out. It was not long before he came in with a log book, in which all the collections in Sir Owen’s treasury were recorded.
“Mr. Qin, please have a look.”
After that, Fred politely handed the book to Qin Haodong.
Qin Haodong smiled at Fred, then opened the book and quickly read through it.
Sir Owen’s collection was really vast. There were about thousands of them, which also included antiques from all over the world.
The first part were the works of art in Europe. It could be seen that in Sir Owen’s heart, these collections were more important.
However, Qin Haodong did not care about these things at all. He quickly looked through them and found the rooster’s head from the twelve zodiac sculptures, which he had been dreaming of, in the last few pages of the records.
He suppressed the excitement in his heart and said, “Sir Owen, I was lucky enough to get the bronze snake head sculpture you sent for the auction yesterday. As a Huaxia man, I have special feelings for these bronze head sculptures. I want to take all of them back to Huaxia in my lifetime.
“Just now, I saw that there was also a bronze head sculpture in your book. I will exchange this painting for the rooster head sculpture. What do you think?”
Sir Owen said, “Dear Qin, as a friend, I should satisfy your wish. These 12 bronze head sculptures are treasures of your country. I also like them very much, so I’m a little reluctant to part with them.”
Qin Haodong smiled slightly. He knew very well that this foreigner was not reluctant at all. Just like what Tian Ye said, the antiques in Huaxia were not very important to him. It could be seen from the ranking of the bronze head sculpture in the list of his book.
The reason why Sir Owen said so was because he was not satisfied with the price Qin Haodong had offered. It was true. If the painting of Picasso and the bronze head were exchanged for Huaxia currency, the price of the bronze head sculpture would be about 50 million and the painting of Picasso was at most 10 million yuan.
Although the exchange between collectors were based more on the reputation of the collection, the value should not be too great a difference.
He said, “Sir Owen, I’m very sincere. Do you think you can bear to part with this bronze head sculpture with a few more paintings like this? Two or three?”
After he finished speaking, Sir Owen’s eyes lit up in an instant. He excitedly said, “Dear Qin, could it be that you have more of Mr. Picasso’s paintings?”
Qin Haodong smiled in agreement, but he did not say how many paintings he still had. This was also a kind of negotiation. Of course, he would not expose his trump card in advance.
Sir Owen thought for a moment, then stretched out a hand and said, “Five! As long as you have five paintings of Picasso, I will exchange this bronze head sculpture with you.”
Qin Haodong said, “Sir Owen, you have to know that this is one of Picasso’s paintings. If you can receive it in your treasure vault, it will definitely help you become the first-class collector.”
Although he had 10 of these paintings in his hand and he could draw one in a few minutes, there were many treasures in Sir Owen’s place. He did not mind exchanging some of them and bringing them back to Huaxia.