Last week, a Modigliani nude was purchased for $170 million, the second-highest price ever received at auction for a painting. “Nu Couché” now trails only Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” which took the record in May when it sold for $179.4 million. But as tends to be the case, the story behind who bought the painting and why is more interesting.
As Fusion’s Lauren LaCapra noted, this painting was bought with an American Express card.
To get the points.
So that the family of Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian could continue flying for free.
And as Liu told The New York Times:
“Every museum dreams of having a Modigliani nude. Now, a Chinese museum has a globally recognized masterpiece, and my fellow countrymen no longer have to leave the country to see a Western masterpiece … The message to the West is clear: We have bought their buildings, we have bought their companies, and now we are going to buy their art.”