The painter Qi Baishi became the first Chinese artist to join the £100 million club at the end of last year. The week before Christmas, a set of ink brush panels entitled Twelve Landscape Screens (1925), sold for a staggering 931.5 million yuan (well over £100m.) at the Poly Beijing auction house. It is the highest price ever paid for a work of Chinese art at auction.
Only a dozen or so other works—by artists like Warhol, Picasso and van Gogh—have sold at auction for more than the equivalent of £100 million, although a number of others have reportedly been sold privately in that price area.
There is no doubt that this work was particularly interesting and probably represented value for money as, effectively, the purchaser (unknown) did get twelve pictures for the price of one.