China's richest shells out $35m for Picasso

AUCTION HIGHLIGHT: "Claude et Paloma" by Pablo Picasso depicts the artist's young children, Claude and Paloma. Pre-auction estimates placed the value at US$9 million to US$12 million.


    Nov 07, 2013

    China's richest shells out $35m for Picasso


    CHINA'S richest man, Mr Wang Jianlin, bought Picasso's painting of his young children, Claude and Paloma, for US$28.2 million (S$35 million) at Christie's in New York on Tuesday, the auction house said.

    Estimated at US$9 million to US$12 million, the 1950 canvas led an otherwise-lacklustre evening sale of art dealer Jan Krugier's collection.

    The two-part auction tallied US$113.7 million, 34 per cent below the low end of its presale estimate range of US$171.4 million to US$244.3 million.

    Of the 155 offered lots, 29 failed to find buyers, including pieces by Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Gerhard Richter and Robert Rauschenberg.

    The biggest casualties were Picasso's sculpture, Tete, and Kandinsky's painting, Herbstlandschaft. The two lots were estimated to bring as much as US$60 million. Neither drew a single bid in a hushed room yesterday.

    Mr Krugier, a Holocaust survivor who became a powerful Geneva art dealer, died in 2008. The 155-lot group from his estate includes 29 Picassos.

    "It's not really a collection, it's Krugier's inventory," said Mr Paul Gray, director of Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago and New York. "Most of the things that didn't sell were way over- estimated."

    Mr Wang, who bought Picasso's Claude et Paloma, through Ms Rebecca Wei, managing director of Christie's Asia, ranks 84th on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index with a net worth of US$13.2 billion.

    He is the chairman and founder of Dalian Wanda, a Chinese conglomerate with interests in commercial property development, a department-store chain, tourism, hotels and entertainment centres.