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Art and Antiques

Zhang Rui – One of China’s mega art collector says “Buying Art Is Like A Drug Addiction”

Andrea Divirgilio / August 28, 2012

The trend with the wealthy art collectors around the world is to own a private art museum to display their multi-million dollar art collection. The new generation of Asian art collectors too are fueling the museum trend with Chinese art collectors at the forefront. With China’s booming economy, there has been a surge in art collecting though the cultural revolution is mainly brought by the billionaire art collectors, who can afford to spend millions on the Picassos and Monets. One such affluent patron of art is Chinese billionaire art collector Zhang Rui. The Chinese entrepreneur, who has mainly derived his wealth from telecommunications industry, has majorly invested in buying Chinese art. Unlike the Mainland Chinese collectors Wang Wei and her husband Liu Yiqian, who have amassed a $317 million art collection all in a span of just two years, Zhang Rui started investing in art before the art market boomed in China in early 2005.

Zhang Rui art collection

“Buying Art Is Like A Drug Addiction,” Zhang Rui says. The billionaire now owns a vast collection featuring 800 pieces of contemporary art works, known to be one of the country’s largest art private collections.

The billionaire art collector is looking for a space to store his art collection. He is currently displaying his private art collection in his Beijing mansion while keeping the vast majority tucked away in storage due to lack of space. Zhang Rui collection features contemporary work of art including the Chinese contemporary artists Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi and Fang Lijun.

Billionaire art collector

More than a means to display their riches, the Chinese collectors are building private museums to display their extraordinary collections, besides reinforcing their presence in the international art world as great collectors.

Wealthy art collectors from Asia:-

Wealthy Chinese art collectors

Chan Fo-kwong is one of the few rich Chinese art buyer and collector to own a museum in Hong Kong. Last year, Josepg Lau, one of the richest men in Hong Kong splurged $16.7 million on a pair of bejeweled cranes from the Yongzheng period (1723-1735).

Chinese-Indonesian collector Budi Tek too plans to open a private museum, the De Museum, in Shanghai in 2013.

Pierre Chen, founder of Yageo Corporation, Taipei, Taiwan is another significant art collector from Asia, who has recently been voted as one of the top art collectors in the world.

Contemporary Chinese Art in Demand:-

Chinese art works too are seeing a huge demand in the international art market. In June, a Chinese painting by the late artist Li Keran sold for $46 million. Last year, the Chinese modern artwork painted by Chinese artist Qi Baishi was sold for $65 Million making it one of the most expensive art auctioned in 2011. A wash painting of mountains and waters by Yuan Dynasty painter Wang Meng was also auctioned for over $62 million by Beijing Poly Auction Company. We have also told you about the most surprising Chinese art auctions in 2012.

For contemporary art lovers, Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” established a record for being the most expensive contemporary art sold at $87 million.

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