In many professions, finding two helpers for the same job was avoided as it would make the other party feel that they were untrustworthy.
However, it was different when it came to the appreciation and authentication of artwork. Normally, a piece of valuable artwork required more than three official authentication organizations to authenticate the artwork.
This was in part due to the buyers. As there were so many buyers all over the world, they could not possibly all trust a single authentication organization. Some would trust one organization and others would trust another. So, in order to sell for a good price, it was best to get both organizations to carry out the authentication.
The two organizations that Roger found for Li Du had a lot of influence. One of the organizations was a commercial auction house while the other was a museum that specialized in collections. All in all, the authentication results from both organizations would be accepted by every buyer.
Experts from both organizations knew one another. After they met and shook hands, they greeted each other:
"Ah, Teacher Kevin, so happy to meet you here. Want to grab a drink after the authentication results are out?"
"Of course, Mr. Saunders. Our previous meeting in New York is still clear in my mind."
"Professor Sughri, very happy to meet you. Please have a seat."
Although they seemed very enthusiastic, they were enthusiastic to each other only. No one was concerned with Li Du, despite him being the customer.
However, as Li Du was well-tempered, he only felt a little displeased and did not express it in his face.
After the exchange of greetings, both parties sat. Professor Kevin, who was the oldest, said, "Mr. Li, I think you can take out the oil paintings now. However, I would like to say a few words before the authentication. Is that alright?"
"Anything," Li Du said, sipping his coffee.
Professor Kevin tapped on the table with his finger and said, "According to Mr. Roger's words, you want to authenticate two different creations of Van Gogh: 'Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather,' which was painted in 1882, and 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen,' which was painted between 1884 and 1885."
Professor Kevin laughed bitterly and said, "Those two paintings were stolen around 40 years ago. Subsequently, a lot of 'Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weathers' and'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenens' appeared in the market. I hope you're prepared."
Li Du understood his meaning. "You suspect these two paintings are fake?"
Saunder, who was the expert working for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said, "Maybe they are high-quality imitation products. It is very difficult to tell their authenticity and hence, there will always be people mistaking them."
Li Du smiled. "I understand. You guys can go ahead and authenticate. Regardless of the outcome, I will accept it."
The experts looked at each other and gestured to Li Du to open the oil paintings before starting their work.
As Roger had also considered the fact that there were two paintings, he invited two groups of experts. The two paintings were aptly split between the two groups, with each group in charge of one painting. After which, the two groups would exchange their views.
Authenticating oil paintings was a simple yet complicated matter. It was a simple matter as, if it were fake, an expert would be able to make a judgment after finding just one flaw.
However, if the oil painting were real, it was strenuous to determine the authenticity of a genuine product as an expert would be required to carry out checks and logical deductions from every angle before they could make a judgment.
The experts from the auction house were in charge of authenticating "Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather." This painting used rough lines and bright golden yellows to express the roaring and surging sea that came before a storm. It was very vibrant.
Once the oil painting was taken out, the experts inhaled a breath of cold air after taking a glance at it.
After all, Van Gogh was a famous artist, who was able to drive the oil painting trend for more than a century. However, this was not because everyone was speculating his works, but because his oil paintings indeed possessed an extraordinary charm.
On the canvas, this painting depicted a vast scenery. As the experts had seen a lot of Van Gogh's works, both genuine and counterfeit, they had a hunch after taking just one glance: this could be a genuine painting!
The art industry took intuition, which was also the sixth sense, very seriously. Outstanding, experienced experts would first follow their intuition when they looked at an artwork.
If they felt that the painting was a fake, they would look for a flaw. If they felt that the painting was genuine, they would carry out the proper procedures to verify it.
Professor Kevin used a magnifying glass to look in detail at the lines of the painting and said, "The oil painting's colors are vibrant enough. The outlines are drawn meticulously and rigidly with the style of Japanese print and the portrait does not have the standard 'three-dimensional sense of realism.' It fits the unique style of Van Gogh . . . "
"The canvas is rough with damages and wormholes. There are small grains of sand stuck onto the surface. They are already embedded into the canvas and have become one with it. It is evident that a long period of time . . . "
"According to historical records, Van Gogh painted this painting while he stayed on Scheveningen Beach, which was near The Hague. He had to withstand the raging sea breeze while painting. Quite a few grains of sand and moisture in the air were blown onto the canvas, ultimately leaving behind . . . "
Among the four experts, three of them authenticated the paintings while one of them recorded their words. Professor Kevin used a magnifying glass to inspect the painting, Professor Surghi assessed the canvas and paint based on historical records, and the other expert used a small machine to scan the painting.
As the authentication progressed, both groups of experts looked more and more dismayed and their gazes became more and more serious, unlike the lighthearted atmosphere before.
Li Du understood the reason behind them being unconcerned with him earlier. It was because they had speculated that his paintings were fakes and thought him a fool who wanted to get rich overnight.
The authentication took two and a half hours. Even though Li Du did not understand the terminologies used by the experts and was also unable to follow their train of thought when they were authenticating, he tried learning from them.
He did indeed learn some things that would definitely help develop his career.
The experts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art reached an outcome first. Saunders, an expert in oil paintings, looked at him in amazement. "God, this 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' is genuine!"
Li Du smiled. "That's fantastic. However, it's not surprising. I knew that they were genuine. Genuine paintings can always be distinguished with just a glance."
Sughri and his colleagues took out a certificate of authenticity from the bag that they had brought with them and wrote down the outcome of the authentication, before signing and stamping it.
After another quarter of an hour, the experts from Christie's had come to a conclusion. All four experts had the same surprised look on their faces.
Professor Kevin said, "Mr. Li, after our authentication and negotiation, we have all come to the conclusion that your painting is genuine. You have found a world-renowned painting that was lost for nearly half a century!"
"I am too fortunate," Li Du responded. "This really is a joyous matter."
Both parties no longer dared to belittle him. All of a sudden, their attitude toward him changed greatly. They kept calling him "Mr. Li," spoke with their heads lowered and their backs bent, and used words that were all very respectful.
Subsequently, they exchanged the two paintings and continued to authenticate them, which required over another two hours.
Despite that, both parties did not mind the exhaustion and instead, were more and more energized and excited.
For them, who loved artwork and oil paintings, being able to authenticate world-renowned paintings was a type of enjoyment as well as a great opportunity to improve their skills and accumulate experience.