Museum tight-lipped on art record

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A Qatari museum group said to be behind the world’s largest art purchase is remaining tight-lipped about the reports.

Qatar Museums has been linked to the purchase of Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) by French artist Paul Gauguin for close to 300 million US dollars (£197 million).

A spokeswoman for the organisation told the Press Association it “doesn’t comment on acquisitions”.

The work depicting two Tahitian girls was painted in 1892.

Its sale was confirmed by former owner Rudolf Staechelin, a collector from Basel in Switzerland, according to the New York Times.

He told the newspaper: “The real question is why only now? It’s mainly because we got a good offer.”

Mr Staechelin declined to reveal the identity of the buyer or confirm the price. Suggestions that the painting was secured by Qatar have not been confirmed by officials in the state.

If reports of the price tag are accurate it would mean the sale exceeds the previous record of 259 million dollars (£170 million) believed to have been spent on a painting by Paul Cezanne in 2011.

Qatari buyers were also said to have been behind that purchase.

Other lucrative art sales include Francis Bacon’s Three Studies Of Lucian Freud, which fetched almost £90 million in 2013, eclipsing the £74 million paid for Edvard Munch’s The Scream in 2012.

Post-impressionist Gauguin went on to influence artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse but his reputation was only made after his death, aged 54, in 1903.

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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