Liu Yiqian Snaps Up 36-Foot Gerhard Richter at Art Basel

He showed off his new purchase on WeChat.

Liu Yiqian poses with his latest acquisition. Photo: Liu Yiqian via WeChat.

Chinese art collector Liu Yiqian has added a massive Gerhard Richter painting to his collection. The billionaire posted a photo of himself posing in front of the German artist’s 36-foot-wide 930-7 Strip on the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat. A friend of the collector, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed the purchase to artnet News.

The eccentric Liu and his wife Wang Wei have a reputation for openly exhibiting their wealth, and they are not shy about showing off their purchases. The couple are among the most prolific collectors in Asia, and founded the Long Museum in Shanghai to showcase their blue-chip acquisitions. Liu’s collecting habits are well documented. For him to buy an artwork, it has to be by a brand-name artist, and it has to be expensive.

The collector has also repeatedly made headlines for his bizarre behavior. In 2014 he courted media attention when he informed reporters that he had bought a porcelain cup at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for $36.3 million, setting the record for the most expensive Chinese work of art ever sold at auction at the time. After placing the winning bid, Liu shocked antique lovers by drinking tea from his new purchase. He also revealed that he had paid with his American Express card.

He also bought and Amedeo Modigliani nude for a staggering $170.4 million at Christie’s New York in November 2015—the second-priciest artwork ever to sell at auction. He paid for that purchase with his credit card, too, reportedly racking up enough reward points to earn him a lifetime of first-class air travel.

Liu doesn’t restrict himself to art, either. He also bought a major stake in Chinese auctioneer Beijing council International Auction Company in April.

Oscar Tuazon's Zome Alloy in front of Art Basel. Image: Courtesy Art Basel.

The Chines billionaire bought the work at Art Basel. Image: Courtesy Art Basel.

The enormous scale of Richter work attracted a lot of attention and interest from collectors and visitors alike. But it was Liu who came out on top.

Despite Liu’s boastful social media post, Marian Goodman Gallery—which showed the work at the Swiss fair—has remained tight-lipped, telling artnet News via email that “it is the policy of the gallery not to provide price information or private sales information.”

Liu and his representatives at the Long Museum, Shanghai, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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