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The Grasshopper Princess Watercolour: a profound watercolour on silk commissioned by the then sitting Crown Prince of Japan via his brother -in-law GOFU a world renowned Japanese artist
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
We, Joseph Benjamin Louw, whose Passport Number is: 5911175076088 Issued by The Republic of South Africa and Charles Schmidt whose Passport Number is 047651228 Issued by the USA as the Affiants do hereby solemnly swear and declare the following:
ON the 22th day of June 2012 I personally spoke with Jesper Ellermann who made the following statements to us, Joseph Benjamin Louw and Charles Schmidt:
“In March 2012 Jesper Ellerman spoke to Mr. Lacentra, a prominent art historian and owner of specialized art auction house The Art of Lacentra and expert of B&R (France). He was presenting to Mr. Pacenta, for advice and initial appraisal the Provenance of the Crown Prince’s Watercolour on Silk commissioned by Emperor Hirohito when he was the Crown Prince of Japan and painted for him by his brother-in-law GOFU (See Provenance). Mr Lacentra sated – A picture of this stature and history, at auction during a healthy market and bidding, should command a valuation range up to $50 million and possibly even with a healthy bidding session, up to $100 million when bought at auction. As a reference point, until now the highest price paid for something similar was a porcelain vase from China (qin-Long Vase) which was sold for around 43 million GBP or around $75 million USD. This estimate from Mr. Lacentra is subject to the verification and authentication of the actual picture itself and to the markets requested of this kind of artifact. The estimate was derived as a result of the review of the Provenance and due diligence given to Mr. Lacentra by Jesper Ellerman on behalf of the owner Constance Love Norman.”
The owner of this painting is Constance Love Norman whose Passport Number is: 464970183 Issued by the USA is personally known to us and we have personally inspected this painting.
We opened the painting personally which was wrapped in its original packaging from the United States hand carried by the owner to Johannesburg, South Africa on 24 December 2011. It has been in my vault since that date, having remained unopened until today. I found the painting in its original museum mounting, original gold gilt frame a simple Japanese watercolour on crème silk of bamboo in bloom with a cricket perched on one of the shoots. On the back of the museum mount there is a hand written note from the Crown Prince to Charles Fabens Kelley stating the Crown Prince’s brother-in-law GOFU had painted the painting for him personally and it is signed in the Crown Prince’s own hand. The note is aged and has some water spots on it but there are no other water spots anywhere on the front or the back of the painting. The silk is flawless and clearly the delicate work of GOFU and personally signed by GOFU with his symbol. This condition of this painting is excellent and found to be consistent with other antiquities of this age and subject matter.
As a known expert in Antiquities, I, Joseph Benjamin Louw, do hereby concur with this estimate of value stating a range of value from $50 million to $100 million dollars in a healthy market bidding session
We do hereby make these statements under penalty of perjury knowing them to be true and correct.