Snowy Mountain by Cui Ruzhuo (崔如琢). Ink and color on paper. 2012.
Artist Cui Ruzhuo sprung momentarily into fame when Snowy Mountain, which had just been sold for HK$28.8M ($3.7M) at Poly Auction, was mistakenly thrown out as rubbish by a Hong Kong Grand Hyatt hotel cleaner. Snowy Mountain was the second most expensive item at the auction, which featured 28 of Cui’s pieces; Cui’s Landscape in Snow sold for HK$184M ($23.7M).
Born in 1944, Cui is a contemporary ink painter known for his landscapes, birds, and flowers. He taught at the Beijing Academy of Arts and Design before moving to study in the United States in 1981. Upon returning to China in the 1990s, Cui mentored doctoral art students and became a renowned art collector. He now ranks among the most expensive living Chinese artists, despite slumps in sales of contemporary Chinese artwork.