‘Most exciting day of my life’ says sculptor Chen Dapeng


Chen Dapeng unveils his bust of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Monday

For Shanghai-based sculptor Chen Dapeng, who is exhibiting his work at the London Olympia Winter Art & Antiques Fair, today has been ‘the most exciting day of my life.’

On Monday night he hosted a champagne reception on his enormous 200 sq m stand at London’s top exhibition venue. It was attended by some 200 people:art critics, buyers, journalists and photographers and, even, some relatives of the British Queen. The focus was very much on his controversial bust of the British monarch which has been offered to the British Queen as a gift but which has got caught up in a diplomatic quagmire.


The controversial bust. Does it really look like Tom Hanks, Liberace, Prince Phillip or Robin Williams? Some Twitterers said it portrayed her ‘wonderfully’

Today the British press was full of articles about his work. There were features in the prestigious newspaper The Times, the influential broadsheeet The Daily Telegraph and the mass market tabloid Metro. This followed extensive worldwide web coverage on newspaper sites.


Chen Dapeng with the bust at the This Morning, London, studio today

By 9.30 am today, Chen Dapeng was on the way to the ITV studios with his controversial bust of HM Queen Elizabeth II. At 1030 it was featured throughout Britain with a four minute live slot on This Morning hosted by revered national celebs Philip and Holly.

The reaction to the bust was instant. Thousands of people took to Twitter, some applauding it, others likening it to Tom Hanks, Liberace (who he? Answer, long deceased piano pounder), Prince Phillip (husband of the Queen) and, even, the late Robin Williams.

However, it was at lunchtime that the offers to buy the bust started to pour in. They came from New York (where Vanity Fair had publicised it), from Hong Kong, and from China itself.

However, the European agents for Chen Dapeng, Paul Harris Asia Arts, had already received two tentative offers to buy the bust at their champagne party on Monday night. Said Paul Harris today, “We were approached by two separate very serious people who said that if it was not going to Buckingham Palace they would like it. Then we received by email and telephone further offers from much further afield. This thing has gone viral. We are now fighting off enquiries.”

But what about the offer to give it to the Queen? Said Harris,”It needs the Chinese government to officially ask Her Majesty if she would like it and the bureaucratic channels are clogged up.”

Said Chen Dapeng, “The Chinese Embassy in London is useless. Despite the fact I have been appointed by Beijing as sculptor for UK-China Cultural Exchange Year (2015), they refuse to recognise me or to act until they get direct orders from Beijing. They are incompetent.”

Nobody from the Chinese Embassy attended Chen Dapeng’s champagne party although even the Argentinian Ambassador was there! Nobody at the Chinese Embassy would comment.

And the offers? The bust has been optioned to a British buyer at ‘around’ half a million pounds. However, the latest offers are well into the millions . . . Looks like Chen Dapeng is set for a great future far from his native China.

Chen Dapeng en route to Olympia via The Great Hall of the People


Chen Dapeng in his Shanghai studio                                       Photo Paul Harris

Shanghai sculptor Chen Dapeng, who will be at Olympia Winter Art & Antiques Fair November 2-8 with a massive 200 sg m stand, is to stop en route to London and hold a press conference in Beijing’s top venue, The Great Hall of the People in Tianneman Square.

The press conference will be at 1030 hours next Wednesday October 28 with a live internet stream and coverage by Chinese national broadcaster CCTV. Chen Dapeng will announce that he is newly recognised by the government of the PRC as an official part of UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange.

He will also reveal the identity of the important British figure he has just finished sculpting and there may even be a physical sighting of the mystery sculpture which he will then bring to London for a press photo call at Olympia on November 2, followed by the official unveiling during the Olympia Collectors’ Preview that evening..



Ana Perez Grassano paints Chen Dapeng sculptures

6 Grassano and Chen Dapeng with the first painting in Songjiang, Shanghai last week

French-Argentinian artist Ana Perez Grassano has just returned from Shanghai, China, where she has painted several of the sculptures of Chen Dapeng, the important Songjiang-based sculptor. We have previously written about Grassano and her cooperation with Chen Dapeng. She is based in Paris and first met Chen Dapeng during his exhibition at Le Carousel du Louvre in November 2013. Chen Dapeng has recently announced that he is to exhibit at this years Olympia Winter Art & Antiques Fair in London (November 2-8). His exhibit is being organised by Paul Harris Asia Arts. Our picture below shows Grassano, Harris and Chen Dapeng after making the announcement in Shanghai on March 29. SONY DSC