Chinese Billionaire Collector Liu Yiqian Launches Another Museum

It's his third museum in four years.

Liu Yiqian drinks from his $36.3 million Meiyintang chicken cup. Photo: courtesy Sotheby's.
Liu Yiqian drinks from his $36.3 million Meiyintang chicken cup. The record he set may be broken in October. Photo: courtesy Sotheby's.
Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei receiving the certificate from Christie's for their purchase of a record-priced Tibetan tapestry. Photo: Phillipe Lopez, courtesy AFP.

Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei receiving the certificate from Christie’s for their purchase of a record-priced Tibetan tapestry.
Photo: Phillipe Lopez, courtesy AFP.

Top Chinese collectors Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian have made a splash in the art world in recent years with headline-grabbing purchases including a $170.4 million Modigliani painting, and a rare porcelain “chicken cup” for $36 million.  Now they are at it again, with plans to build their third museum in four years.

According to the report in the Art Newspaperthe newest institution—the Long Museum Chonquing— will be built in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, and is the couple’s first museum branch outside Shanghai. Chongqing is one of the world’s biggest cities, though it it is little known outside of China.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) and unidentified officials tour the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai on May 17, 2014. Fabius who is a former French Prime Minister is on a 4 day visit to China with stops in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Li Yiqian (center) and French foreign minister Laurent Fabius (R) tour the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai on May 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The new 10,000-square-foot museum will occupy the first three floors of a building Liu owns, known as the Guohua Financial Centre. The report says Wang initially planned to build just one museum, but that the Chinese government offered them a discount on a parcel of land.

The already established Long museums include one in Pudong district, which opened in 2012, and the West Bund branch in the Xuhui district, which opened in 2014. The new Chongqing location will be dedicated to traditional Chinese art, revolutionary painting, and contemporary art, as well as art from the Sichuan region. The first exhibition planned for the space is “100 Years of Art History: 1911–2011,” which will look at Chinese oil painting after the 1911 revolution.

Liu Yiqian drinks from his $36.3 million Meiyintang chicken cup. Photo: courtesy Sotheby's.

Liu Yiqian drinks from his $36.3 million Meiyintang chicken cup.
Photo: courtesy Sotheby’s.

Liu is a high school dropout and former taxi driver who made a fortune in the stock market in the 1980s and ’90s. Though he started by collecting Chinese calligraphy and other traditional art, he told the Financial Times this past January: “We need to collect foreign art so that our museums can be on a par with their foreign peers.”

 


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