Chinese Film Mogul Purchases Van Gogh’s Masterpiece For £39m

Wang Zhongjun, the chairman of Huayi Brothers film studio in China has purchased Van Gogh’s painting “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies”, at Sotheby’s New York, Tuesday for £39m $61.8m. Zhongjun is one of China’s wealthiest men. A spokesperson for the Huayi Brothers have not commented on the sale however,last year Jianlin’s Wanda Group purchased Picasso’s 1950 canvas “Claude and Paloma” for $28 million.

Van Gogh “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies,” surpassed its pre-sale estimate of $30-50 million. The artist painted it three months before his death. Using a richly colored bouquet of wildflowers to convey his psychological state at the time — a hallmark of the Expressionist icon. The resulting composition teems with the intense energy, emotion and sensitivity of this creative genius at the height of his short but renowned career. Still Life is one of the few works that Van Gogh sold during his lifetime, and is one of only a handful of great works by the artist to appear at auction in recent decades.

Wang Zhongjun began his career in art and graphic design, and he spent several years living and working in the US. On his return to China, he became interested in the idea of starting an advertising agency. There were no private equity firms or business angels around to help with start-up capital, so he and his brother invested their savings in the venture. The entrepreneur can claim to have played a key role in this transformation. In the mid-1990s, he and his brother Wang Zhonglei founded a small company that has now grown into one of China’s largest media conglomerates, with interests which include film and TV production and distribution.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s will be auctioning around $1.7 billion worth of impressionist and modern, post-war and contemporary art over the next week.

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