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Chinese movie tycoon buys Van Gogh painting for US$61.8m

MOVIE tycoon Wang Zhongjun bought a Vincent Van Gogh painting for US$61.8 million on Tuesday at an art auction in New York City, Chinese media reported.

The 1890 painting, "Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies," had expected to fetch between $30 million and US$50 million at Sotheby's sale in Manhattan.

Van Gogh painted it at the French home of his physician, Dr Paul Gachet. It's one of the few works the Dutch artist sold during his lifetime.

One of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art, A. Conger Goodyear, acquired it in 1928, according to Associated Press. It remained in the family for decades and was on permanent exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo for 30 years. The most recent owner bought it around 1990, the report said.

The auction record for a van Gogh is US$82.5 million, Associated Press said.

Wang Zhongjun is the chairman of Huayi Brothers Media, one of China's largest home-growth entertainment companies. It produces films and has a record label. Huayi's investors include Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma.

The big-ticket auction at Sotheby's also brought in US$101 million for "Chariot," a rare sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, Associated Press reported. The 1951 bronze sculpture features an elongated, goddess-like figure perched atop a wheeled chariot. The price almost broke the US$104.3 million record for the Swiss artist, the report said.


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