Chinese billionaire collector Liu Yiqian is known for shelling out millions to acquire Chinese artworks, but he clearly has an eye for western masterpieces as well, Forbes reports.
Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei bought Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 painting of a sultry nude “Nu Couche (Reclining Nude)” for $170.4 million, the second highest auction price ever paid for a work of art, after a Picasso painting that sold in May at Christie’s for $179.4 million.
The painting, which portraits a dark-haired woman reclining on a red couche, was initially expected to sell for around $100 million.
Liu and his wife founded the Long Museum in Shanghai to house their collections, including a Tibetan tapestry he acquired last year for $45 million and a tiny Ming-era porcelain cup decorated with the image of a chicken he bought for $36.3 million.
“Our museum is just two to three years old and currently houses mostly Chinese traditional culture,” Mr. Liu told The Wall Street Journal. “This is a great opportunity for us to collect a world masterpiece and will bring our museum to a new era.”
Chinese billionaires are increasingly showing a taste for western artworks. Sotheby’s in May sold a Claude Monet painting for $20.4 million to the country’s richest personWang Jianlin and a Picasso to Chinese media mogul Wang Zhongjun for $29.9 million at a New York auction.