A Chinese movie tycoon dished out $61.8 million for a Vincent van Gogh painting at a Sotheby's New York auction this week, the highest auction price for a painting by the artist in over 15 years.
The 1890 'Still Life, Vase with Daisies, and Poppies', sold to Wang Zhongjun, one of China's richest men, fetched far more than the $30 million to $50 million estimate, and is said to be the highest price paid for Western art by a Chinese collector. The auction record for a van Gogh is $82.5 million, according to the Associated Press.
The floral masterpiece was painted in the artist's later years at the home of his physician, Dr. Paul Gachet, in France.
Wang, who reportedly bid over the phone on Tuesday evening, is chairman of Huayi Brothers Media – a film production company, record label and talent agency based in Beijing.
Deep-pocketed Chinese buyers have become an increasingly powerful force in the Western art market.
In November 2013, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, founded by the country's richest man Wang Jianlin, snapped up a Picasso painting for $28.2 million at a Christie's auction in New York – more than double the high-end estimate for the piece of art.
Wang's purchase elicited a negative response from some Chinese internet users, who disapprove of the business mogul's extravagance.
"Speechless, the flowers look special, but isn't that too expensive? How many years do we need to work to pay for that?," one user wrote on Weibo.
"Things only the rich can afford," another user wrote.