Chinese painting sells for $46 million

Updated: 2012-06-04 21:14

By Lin Qi (

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A Chinese painting by prominent artist Li Keran (1907-1989) fetched a stunning 293.25 million yuan ($46 million), a record for the artist, on Sunday night (June 3) at Poly International Auction's spring sales.

"Wan Shan Hong Bian" (Thousands of Hills in A Crimsoned View) was painted in 1964 and inspired by Chairman Mao Zedong's verse "I see thousands of hills in crimsoned view, the woods piling up in deep dye" from his famous poem Qin Yuan Chun – Changsha in 1925.

Li painted seven versions of "Wan Shan Hong Bian" of different sizes between 1961 and 1964. Three of them are in the National Art Museum of China, Chinese Painting Academy and Rongbaozhai, one remains with the Li family, and the remaining two are in the possession of collectors in Taiwan.

The auctioned work, which was returned from overseas, is at 1.31 meters long and 0.84 meters wide, the largest version.

As for the buyer, Poly Auction's Executive Director Zhao Xu would say only that it was a domestic entrepreneur who began buying art two years ago.

"The sale tonight shows a stable Chinese art market, which keeps attracting newcomers to auction houses. The high price of Li's painting will definitely leverage the market of 20th-centuray Chinese painting," Zhao said.