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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: From Rags to Riches: Meet Chinese Billionaire who bought £113m nude painting

Friday, 13 November 2015

From Rags to Riches: Meet Chinese Billionaire who bought £113m nude painting

This is what having too much money can do! Imagine someone buying a 500-year-old Ming dynasty cup for £21million just to know how it felt to drink from it and then the Chinese billionaire collector stunned the world snapping up a nude painting for £113million.

Once upon a time Liu Yiqian, 52, who was born into a working class family in Shanghai. dropped out of school at the age of 14 and helped his mother sell handbags on the street of Shanghai..But the penniless Liu with a bleak future soon developed a keen business sense and found a way to make the bags cheaper to undercut other traders, generating enough money to rent his mother her own shop.

He also bought a taxi and worked as a driver after the government ended its state monopoly limiting how much they could earn, it was reported by The Sun.

His big break came in his 20s when he first invested in the stock market in the 1990s – a shrewd move which grew into a two million yuan windfall that catapulted him into the billionaire he is today.

With personal wealth of around £1billion according to Forbes magazine, Liu is among the ranks of the new Chinese super-rich.

As an older man, he and his wife Wang Wei have poured their wealth into rare and expensive Chinese artwork. 

But he knew very little about the artwork he was buying when he started going to auctions.

He once said: 'Whenever I saw others bidding, I just competed. After I made the buy I would ask them "why is this piece good?"' 

They now own two exhibition spaces in Shanghai, known as The Long Museum, which houses up to 2,300 pieces of his art in his native Shanghai.

In one of his most high-profile acquisitions, Liu set a record for Chinese porcelain last year by paying just over £21million for a tiny Ming Dynasty cup with a rooster and a hen tending to their chicks.

Liu even calls himself a 'tuhao' – a Chinese term for someone who came into money but hasn't acquired the same level of cultural refinement bought the Nu Couche or Reclining Nude by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani for a whooping £133million after a frantic bidding war at a Christie's auction in New York on Monday.

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