Wang Zhongjun, the billionaire chairman of entertainment giant Huayi Brothers Media, scooped up a Pablo Picasso portrait auctioned off from the Goldwyn family collection for a cool 29.9 million USD.
The 1948 canvas, titled Femme Au Chignon Dans un Fauteuil (“Woman with a Hair Bun on a Sofa”) has been in the Goldwyn family collection since it was purchased by Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn Sr. in 1956. Wang picked up the portrait at the auction house Sotheby’s New York last Tuesday, ArtNet News reports.
Wang, who stirred up buzz in the art scene last year with the purchase of a 1890 Vincent van Gogh masterpiece worth 62 million USD, told reporters: “I first fell in love with the painting and then I fell in love with its story.”
“The Goldwyn family is legendary in our industry and in this one work, I can see not only Pablo Picasso’s genius, but also Samuel Goldwyn Sr.’s creative vision,” he added.
As more and more high-profile Asian collectors are doling out for blue chip art, Wang isn’t the first (or the richest) Chinese mogul to make headlines for a pricey Picasso purchase. Wanda Group’s Wang Jianlin, formerly China’s richest man, came under fire after his company bought the 1950 painting Claude and Paloma for a grand 28 million USD—more than double the high estimate.
“What is particularly exciting to me about the number of significant acquisitions by private Asian collectors in recent seasons is the evolution that lies behind them,” Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said in a blouinartinfo.com report. “So many of the bidders from Asia who are active in our global sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art are longtime, established collectors who have spent years and indeed decades focused on categories closer to home, but who are now reacting with great enthusiasm to an ever-broader range of Western art offered in our sales.”