China`s richest man pays $28 mn for a Picasso

Beijing: Billionaire Wang Jianlin, who is China`s richest man and chairman of real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group, paid $28.16 million for Spanish master Pablo Picasso`s painting of his children, "Claude et Paloma," at Christie`s in New York.

The purchase is the first in the West by a Chinese company of a work by the Spanish artist.

"We are happy to have bought the work at this price, especially with the slowdown in the global economy, because another of Picasso`s paintings, `Boy with a Pipe,` sold for $104.16 million in 2004," Guo Qingxiang, who manages Dalian Wanda Group`s art collection, said.

The painting, which had an estimated starting bidding price of $12 million at the auction, was "one of Picasso`s favorites" and was on display "in his studio until his death", Guo said.

"Claude et Paloma", which was completed in 1950, shows Picasso`s daughter at nearly the age of one with her three-year-old brother.

The painting was part of a private collection that went on the auction block Monday in New York and performed below expectations.

Wang Jianlin, who Hurun magazine ranked as China`s richest person in August with a net worth of more than $22 billion, continues to expand his art collection, which includes works by leading Chinese artists Wu Guanzhong, Shi Qi and Li Keran, Guo said.