Chapter 133 – Post-Competition Auction

The Dream Cup Grand Finals exhibition lasted for ten days, and with the three additional days promised by Zhao Liyou, the exhibition continued for a total of thirteen days.

During these thirteen days, the exhibition hall saw a continuous stream of visitors. Despite the restriction on the number of visitors, it still broke the record for the number of attendees at the exhibition hall, and this record was updated multiple times, which was quite astounding!

The reason behind this record-breaking attendance was undoubtedly the presence of the painting “Light.” Many people traveled from afar to Beijing just to witness the splendor of this painting with their own eyes, knowing that it might be their last chance to see it.

After all, every year, following the Dream Cup Grand Finals exhibition, an auction would be held to auction the top ten works from the exhibition. Collectors would have the opportunity to bid for the artworks they liked.

After the conclusion of this exhibition, it was natural to hold the auction. With the participation of “Light” in the exhibition, it naturally attracted the attention of countless collectors. The initially prepared auction hall proved too small and had to be changed by the organizing committee to a larger one with a more professional auctioneer.

As the author of “Light,” Chen Li naturally received an invitation to the auction. Knowing that Chen Li didn’t like to interact with strangers, the organizing committee thoughtfully prepared a private box for him to observe the auction.

On the day of the auction, Wei Chen accompanied Chen Li to the private box, and the seats in the auction hall were fully occupied.

As time passed, more and more collectors and artists entered the auction hall. From the private box, Wei Chen also spotted a few familiar faces.

Most of these familiar faces were bosses of companies that Wei Chen had collaborated with, and even Sheng Jiaqi, the Chairman of Changfeng Group, appeared at the auction.

As the auctioneer’s hammer fell on the solid wooden base, the auction began.

The auction started from the tenth artwork and proceeded in ascending order.

At the beginning of the auction, most of the collectors in attendance seemed unenthusiastic, as they were primarily there for “Light.”

It’s not that the other works among the top ten were not excellent; it’s just that “Light” was too outstanding, instantly overshadowing the other artworks.

However, each person had their preferences, and some collectors appreciated the top ten works, so none went unsold.

Half an hour later, the nine artworks were all auctioned, and the collectors in the auction hall held their breath, eagerly awaiting the auction of “Light.”

At this moment, Zhao Liyou, the President of the Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Association and the head of the Dream Cup organizing committee, stepped onto the auction platform. The auctioneer bowed to the audience and stepped back, giving the stage to Zhao Liyou.

“I am Zhao Liyou, and after four years, we meet again. Today, we have many new faces here, so I’ll introduce myself again,” Zhao Liyou said with a smile, confident and poised, not the least bit reserved. “I am Zhao Liyou, the head of the Dream Cup organizing committee, and I’m delighted to meet all of you here.”

The people in the auction hall also gave Zhao Liyou a round of applause, showing enthusiasm. Of course, they hoped that Zhao Liyou would step down now and bring out the first prize of the Dream Cup, so they could start the competition. They were eager to possess this painting.

Zhao Liyou naturally understood their thoughts. After finishing his self-introduction, he got to the point and said, “I know many of you are here for the artwork ‘Light.’ However, I have to apologize sincerely because today, we will not be auctioning ‘Light.'”

As Zhao Liyou’s words fell, the auction hall erupted in commotion, aptly described as a thousand waves stirred by a single phrase. But fortunately, the people attending the auction were all elites, and though they felt a bit disappointed, no one made a scene.

“I apologize for not informing you in advance, as we only received the news recently,” Zhao Liyou explained with a smile. “The author of ‘Light’ donated the painting to the National Art Museum last night. If you want to see ‘Light,’ you can go to the museum to view it.”

Unlike the previous commotion, the room fell into silence when this announcement was made. No one had expected this outcome, and when they finally reacted, someone led the applause.

A moment later, thunderous applause broke out, with many applauding the author’s decision to donate the painting.

“Indeed, a work like ‘Light,’ which gives people hope, reverence for life, and a desire and passion for life, should not be confined to someone’s private collection. It should be donated to a museum, just like its author did, so that more people can experience its power!” someone said and received applause from the entire audience.

In the private box, Chen Li watched the people in the auction hall applauding for him, unable to express his emotions. He felt a warm feeling in his heart, as if a stream of warmth was flowing into his entire body.

Wei Chen reached out and held Chen Li’s hand, saying, “Li Li, you’re amazing. Look, they’re all applauding for you.”

Chen Li turned to look at Wei Chen, his eyes filled with inquiry.

Wei Chen nodded and repeated, “Yes, you’re amazing!”

Chen Li then smiled lightly and raised his eyebrows. Being praised by others was undoubtedly a very fulfilling experience.

The auction did not end just because “Light” had been donated. After the applause subsided, the auction continued.

“As compensation, we specially asked the author of ‘Light’ to provide another painting as an auction item. Although this painting might not have the same impact as ‘Light,’ I must admit that it is also an excellent work. If the author had submitted this painting for the competition, it would still have had a chance to win the first prize,” Zhao Liyou said, and then clapped his hands, instructing the staff to bring up Chen Li’s another painting.

This time, there was no mystery. As soon as the painting was revealed, the audience immediately recognized Zhao Liyou’s approach as correct. Indeed, it was a remarkable painting, and if this had been submitted for the competition, it would have had a chance at winning the gold prize.

Moreover, with ‘Light’s’ author now gaining fame, his reputation might only grow, making this painting even more valuable.  

The auctioneer returned to the stage, as such professional matters were best left to professionals. After Zhao Liyou finished his explanations, he stepped down. The auction continued, and though this painting didn’t have the same impact as ‘Light,’ it was undoubtedly a good piece. Many people were interested in collecting it, so the auction was even more intense than the previous nine paintings.

In the end, the painting was sold for nearly tens of millions, a rare price for an emerging artist.

With the conclusion of the last piece, the auction came to an end. Those who obtained their desired artworks were overjoyed, while those who missed out felt a bit of regret. Of course, everyone had some regret, as they had come for ‘Light.’

However, they quickly realized that there was nothing to be regretful about. Firstly, ‘Light’ was now in the National Art Museum, and they could simply go there to see it. Secondly, they had seen another painting by the same author, which was equally excellent and full of emotion, as if it had a soul.

They knew that ‘Light’ was not a fluke; judging from the quality of this other painting, the author had already reached the level of a master. In the future, whenever they encountered paintings by this artist, they would undoubtedly be worth collecting.

At this moment, it dawned on everyone that they still didn’t know the name of the author of ‘Light.’ They hadn’t even seen what this outstanding person looked like; they were genuinely elusive and low-key. But these collectors weren’t ones to pry into other people’s affairs. If the artist didn’t want to reveal their identity, they wouldn’t go digging.

Someday, the author would surely reveal themselves, and at that time, they would come to collect their artworks.

The auction ended in this way, and while Chen Li’s name might not be widely known, his paintings had already earned a reputation worldwide. When Chen Li was willing to reveal his name, he would undoubtedly become famous!

As the Dream Cup ended along with the auction, ‘Light’ continued to be passed down through word of mouth. The more famous it became, especially after the news of the author’s donation to the National Art Museum, many people praised the author for their selflessness.

They realized that if ‘Light’ had been auctioned, it would have undoubtedly fetched a sky-high price. However, the author had not cared about money and had chosen to donate it instead.

This news also brought great joy and excitement to many people. They had thought that the last time they would see ‘Light’ would be in the Dream Cup exhibition, but they hadn’t expected the author to selflessly donate it. They believed that with the existence of ‘Light,’ more and more people would emerge from the darkness and escape from the brink of death.

‘Light’ possessed this power – the power to make people yearn for life while also revering it.

On the day ‘Light’ was placed in the National Art Museum, many people gathered spontaneously at the museum’s entrance to witness ‘Light’ being donated. No one questioned its qualification to be housed in the National Art Museum, as they knew that ‘Light’ would be better displayed there, showcasing its message of hope.

After ‘Light’ was placed in the museum, the legend about the painting began to spread. The brilliant art career of Chen Li was just beginning.

‘Light’ marked Chen Li’s glorious starting point, but it was by no means the end of his success. This magnificent journey had just begun, and he had a long way to go in the future!

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