Chapter 154 – The Same Painting
When Jiang Ye proposed to ride in Wei Chen’s car together, Chen Shihuai and Chen Qing were just about to get into their own car. They happened to catch every word Jiang Ye said. Because of this, Chen Shihuai’s movement to get into the car hesitated for a moment. However, he didn’t frown and let Jiang Ye take his own car back.
However, once they got inside the car, Chen Shihuai’s face turned serious and unpleasant.
Chen Qing didn’t know the identities of Jiang Ye and Sheng Tianqi, so he asked, “Grandpa, who were those two people just now?”
While Chen Shihuai was feeling unhappy, he couldn’t help but advise Chen Qing. After all, Chen Qing was studying in the capital city, and who knew if he might encounter these two individuals in the future.
“The grandson of the Sheng family and one is their great-grandson. They are in the same generation as your uncles Yunqi and Yuntang. If you happen to meet them in Beijing, be cautious,” Chen Shihuai cautioned.
Their Chen family in Shanghai, after all, wasn’t the same as the Chen family in Beijing. Even though his father was currently the head of the Chen family, and he had to address his uncle from the capital city as “uncle”, nevertheless, it wasn’t his own bloodline, still a layer apart. When encountering the Sheng family, they naturally couldn’t be too arrogant.
Chen Qing naturally knew about the Sheng family in the capital city. It was said that the Sheng family often had differing political views from the Chen family and their relationship wasn’t great.
“I understand,” Chen Qing replied, but his gaze inadvertently shifted to the window, just in time to see Young Master Jiang and Master Sheng getting into Wei Chen’s car together.
Chen Qing’s brows furrowed. Since when did Wei Chen get involved with the Sheng family?
This was also Chen Shihuai’s doubt. He even speculated further: did the fact that Wei Chen, Jiang Ye, and Sheng Tianqi knew each other mean that the Wei family had allied with the Sheng family, a powerful force?
After seeing off the guests, Wu Zhang and Wu Zailin were back in their study. Wu Zhang had a lot of questions in his mind, waiting for Wu Zailin’s explanations.
Wu Zailin obediently followed, feeling a bit nervous, but he had mentally prepared himself.
As they entered the study, Wu Zhang fixed a stern gaze on Wu Zailin. “Speak up, what’s really going on?” Wu Zhang remained standing rather than sitting down, his eyes piercing, which made Wu Zailin’s legs feel a bit weak.
Wu Zailin understood that Wu Zhang was asking about the invitation letter for his junior brother and how it ended up involving the two brothers from the Wei family. He chose his words carefully and finally asked, “Dad, can I ask you something before I answer your question?” It took a lot of courage for Wu Zailin to ask this.
Wu Zhang didn’t know what Wu Zailin was about to say, but he wasn’t the type to prevent his son from asking questions. He said, “Go ahead.”
“Dad, what’s your impression of the two brothers from the Wei family?” Wu Zailin asked once he got Wu Zhang’s permission.
Without any hesitation, Wu Zhang said, “They’re more impressive than you.”
Wu Zailin chuckled, “Certainly, certainly.” He had no big ambitions. He’d rather tend to a shop with little business than strive for the pinnacle of a career. This sentiment didn’t sit well with Wu Zhang.
But maybe it was due to Wu Zhang’s close ties with the Sheng family that he adopted a laissez-faire approach towards his descendants. He didn’t meddle in his children’s lives, as long as they didn’t go astray.
Wu Zhang gave Wu Zailin a stern look, finding his son lacking in determination. Yet, considering his son’s current stress-free life, he chose not to dwell on it.
“What’s going on? Are you going to tell me or not?” Wu Zhang asked again, his tone growing impatient.
Wu Zailin decided to cut to the chase, saying, “Dad, my junior brother and Wei Chen are in a legally recognized partnership. I sent the invitation to my junior brother, so it’s not surprising that it ended up with his partner.”
“I can tell your invitation was meant for Wei Chen,” Wu Zhang immediately exposed Wu Zailin’s words.
Unperturbed, Wu Zailin smiled and said, “Dad, you might not know, but when I sent the invitation to Wei Chen, I mentioned that you appreciate my junior brother’s art.”
Wu Zhang paused for a moment and realized the key point. Wei Chen knew his preferences and yet he didn’t try to pander to them using his partner’s strengths. Just this alone made Wu Zhang trust Wei Chen’s character. His already good first impression of Wei Chen was now even better.
It was no wonder Jiang Ye saw potential in Wei Chen. His abilities were well-known in Shanghai. Now, considering his capabilities, positive character, and Jiang Ye’s willingness to collaborate with him, assigning the A Zone project to the Wei family seemed reasonable.
While previously, Wu Zhang had reluctantly given the project to the Wei family because of Jiang Ye’s insistence, now he was willingly offering it, not just due to Jiang Ye’s wishes, but also because of his recognition of Wei Chen’s character.
Wei Chen had no idea that his decision not to invite Chen Li to Shanghai would result in such an unexpected outcome.
“Organize today’s gifts,” Wu Zhang decided to stop dwelling on the matter and turned his attention to the gifts in his study. They weren’t numerous, but they were quite disorganized.
Wu Zailin promptly agreed but set his focus on two paintings in the study.
Wu Zailin was also an art enthusiast. While his own paintings weren’t widely recognized on the international stage, his keen eye for art was renowned. Usually, when a high-quality imitation appeared before him, he could quickly determine its authenticity.
In Wu Zailin’s view, the paintings sent by the Sheng family and the Chen family were undoubtedly exceptional. Despite his appreciation for renowned artists’ works, how could these pieces fill the void left by personal preferences?
Wu Zailin first turned his attention to the painting sent by the Sheng family. As the canvas was unveiled, his gaze fixed on the artwork beneath.
This painting seemed to possess a magical quality, drawing in a person’s contemplation, guiding them through the artist’s thoughts, experiencing a journey of ups and downs.
Behind Wu Zailin, Wu Zhang was equally captivated by the painting. He immediately recognized it, saying with excitement, “This is the painting that your junior brother was auctioning that day and got taken away!”
It turned out that the Sheng family had acquired this painting and presented it as a gift for the celebration.
Wu Zhang was now full of joy. He was pleased to obtain a painting he truly liked and even more pleased by the Sheng family’s regard for him.
Father and son gazed at Chen Li’s painting for a long time before withdrawing their gazes.
“Zailin, your junior brother is truly remarkable,” Wu Zhang sighed, his eyes still lingering on Chen Li’s painting.
“It’s truly extraordinary,” Wu Zailin also sighed. On the day of the “Light” exhibition, he had specifically gone to Shanghai to see it. He had been deeply captivated by “Light.” Now, while this painting might not bring the same level of astonishment as “Light,” it managed to captivate people in a different way, affecting their emotions.
The skill to imbue a painting with the artist’s intense emotions and then share this power with those viewing it was something Wu Zailin had only seen in a few individuals, with Chen Li’s work standing out most.
No wonder his teacher valued his junior brother so much. His talents truly deserved such high regard.
Having experienced a masterpiece like “Light,” the father and son weren’t as hopeful about the next painting. However, when Wu Zailin unveiled the painting sent by the Chen family, their expressions turned to surprise and a touch of disgust.
The painting from the Chen family was identical to the one sent by the Sheng family!
Of course, Wu Zhang and his son wouldn’t show disgust if the paintings were truly identical. Any person with eyes could discern that the painting from the Chen family was fake. It was a complete imitation of the one sent by the Sheng family.
The painting sent by the Sheng family was the genuine work of Chen Li, acquired by Sheng Tianqi at the Dream Cup auction.
Chen Li’s paintings always emanated a certain power and emotion. Yet, the painting from the Chen family was a mere copy in terms of appearance, devoid of the essence.
As the saying goes, drawing the skin of a tiger is easy, but drawing its bones is difficult. The painting from the Chen family didn’t capture the essence of Chen Li’s original work. While it might be an excellent piece on its own, placed next to Chen Li’s original, it was a pale imitation.
Wu Zailin hadn’t expected the Chen family to send a forgery. Suddenly, they both felt embarrassed on behalf of the Chen family.
“Get rid of it, burn it. I don’t want it to taint my eyes,” Wu Zhang expressed strong distaste. He truly liked Chen Li’s painting, and it was bewildering that the Chen family would send a fake to his celebration. Were they intentionally mocking him?
Wu Zailin also wished the painting would disappear. Following Wu Zhang’s command, he quickly left the room with the forgery, his opinion of the Chen family now greatly diminished.
Couldn’t they send something else if they couldn’t obtain the original painting? And if they had to send a forgery, did it have to be so easily discernible as a fake?
Wu Zailin held the Chen family’s actions in contempt and promptly instructed the household staff to dispose of the painting.
After dealing with the painting, Wu Zailin returned to Wu Zhang’s study. He saw that Wu Zhang had already hung the painting sent by the Sheng family on the wall. Wu Zhang stood there with his hands behind his back, his eyes fixed on the painting.
Approaching, Wu Zailin’s gaze fell on the same painting.
“Disposed of it?” Wu Zhang asked.
“Yeah,” Wu Zailin replied.
As father and son exchanged these few words, their gazes never left the painting on the wall. The Sheng family’s gift had found a special place in both their hearts.
“Zailin!” Suddenly, Wu Zhang called out.
Startled from his immersion in the painting, Wu Zailin asked after a brief pause, “What is it, Dad?”
“This painting was done by your junior brother. If I give the A Zone project to your junior brother’s partner, can you ask that boy from the Wei family to have your junior brother paint another one for me?” Wu Zhang proposed.
Wu Zhang had grown fonder of Chen Li’s painting the more he looked at it. He felt that possessing just this one was insufficient. He considered collecting a few more.
Given that Wu Zailin was Chen Li’s senior brother, he thought it wouldn’t be a big deal for him to ask through Wei Chen for another painting.