Rare Van Gogh Painting Sells For $61.8 Million — Who’s The Rich Guy Who Bought It?

Van Gogh Painting Poppies

Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies” was sold at auction on Tuesday for a whopping $61.8 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that the painting was auctioned off at the highest price for a Van Gogh since 1998.

The highest bidder wasn’t present at the auction, instead opting to place his bid for the rare painting by phone. The BBC reports that it was estimated that the Van Gogh painting would be sold for $50 million at the Sotheby auction in NYC, but it sold for almost $12 million more than expected to a man said to be not only the “richest man in China” but an impressionist painter as well.

Initially, the BBC stated that the person who won the auction was “a private bidder from Asia,” leaving many to wonder who had over $60 million to spend on the work of art that Vincent van Gogh painted in 1890, just weeks before he died.

A report in the Wall Street Journal put an end to the speculation, revealing on Wednesday that the painting was sold to an extremely wealthy Chinese movie magnate, Wang Zhongjun, the co-founder of Huayi Brothers Media Corp.

How rich is Wang Zhongjun? Forbes lists him as number 268 on their list of the wealthiest people in China. His net worth as of October 2014 is $910 million and his company is said to have a “a market cap of $4.7 billion… larger than that of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.”

Zhongjun doesn’t just buy up expensive paintings like the Van Gogh he purchased for $61.5 million — he sells his own artwork as well. They don’t fetch nearly as much as the pricey “Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies” piece he purchased this week, but his spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that his friends have paid as much as $65,400 for his paintings, with all proceeds going to a charity fund.

The rare Van Gogh painting was originally acquired in 1928 by A. Conger Goodyear, the founder of the Museum of Modern Art. It was sold to an unnamed person after that acquisition. It was then sold to another person in 1990 and retained until this week’s auction in Manhattan.

[Images: Sotheby’s Instagram, Forbes]