For love, for art

By Zhang Kun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-10-08 08:02:14

Liu Yiqian's art acquisitions

December 2013: Liu paid $8.2 million for Gong Fu Tie (above), an ancient note consisting of no more than nine characters that was composed by Su Shi (1037-1101). The scroll, which was sold at a Sotheby's auction, later sparked controversy when researchers from the Shanghai Museum disputed its authenticity and said it was a 19th century copy. Liu responded by holding a news conference in February 2014 to prove its authenticity.

April 2014: Liu bought a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) "chicken cup" for $36.3 million at a Sotheby's auction via telephone bidding. The sale made the artwork the most expensive piece of ceramic in the world. Known as the "holy grail" of Chinese ceramics, the cup is estimated to be more than 600 years old and was created during the pinnacle of ceramic artistry during the reign of Chenghua (1465-1487). Liu was pictured sipping tea from the 8.2-centimeter-wide cup after he had flown to Hong Kong to collect it.

March 2015: Liu paid $45 million for a 600-year-old Tibetan embroidered silk thangka. It was a record price for a Chinese artwork sold by an international auction house (Christie's Hong Kong). The 3-meter-tall and 2-meter-wide artwork was created during the Ming Dynasty and is the only one in a private collection.

April 2015: Liu paid $14.7 million for a Southern Song-era (1127-1279) vase, making it one of the most expensive ceramic pieces from that period. The grayish blue vase has a cracked texture, a result of natural cooling after the baking process. Its octagon shape was borrowed from ancient bronze art and reflects contemporary aesthetics.

November 2015: Liu paid $170.4 million for Nu couche, a 1917 oil painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, at a Christie's auction in New York, setting a new record for a Modigliani painting and making the artwork one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.


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