Chinese ink-brush artwork sells for record US$144m

Chinese ink-brush artwork sells for record US$144m

Qi Baishi ink brush painting
In a picture taken on Oct 6, 2012, a woman inspects artwork by Chinese artist Qi Baishi entitled Landscapes during a China Guardian auction preview in Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP/Dale de la Rey)

BEIJING: A set of ink-brush paintings by Chinese artist Qi Baishi has sold for US$144 million, breaking all records for Chinese paintings, a Beijing auction house said Monday (Dec 18).

The group of 12 panels painted in 1925 were sold at auction on Sunday night for 931.5 million yuan, Beijing Poly International Auction said in a statement.

The self-taught painter (1864 to 1957) became the first Chinese artist to surpass the US$100 million mark for one piece, the auction house said.

The work, entitled Twelve Landscape Screens, depicts mountains, villages and trees in bloom, with soft blue, grey, brown and pink tones.

The 12 panels measure 1.8 meters by 47 centimetres. The buyer's identity has not been revealed.

Qi Baishi was one of the world's most valued Chinese artists last year, according to a ranking published earlier this year by Artprice.

The value of his work by auction turnover came in third behind his compatriot Zhang Daqian (1899 to 1983) and Spaniard Pablo Picasso (1881 to 1973) in 2016.

In 2011 one of his works, an eagle on a pine branch, sold for US$55 million in Beijing.