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Qi Baishi painting sells for GBP 40m

26th May 2011

A modern Chinese painting by Qi Baishi has sold for over USD 65 million (GBP 40 million) at auction in China, the second highest amount ever paid for a work of art produced in the country.

The painting, which was created in the 1940s and depicts an eagle perching on a pine tree between two calligraphy scrolls, was originally intended as a gift to Chiang Kai-shek, the former Chinese leader, for his 60th birthday.

It was bought by an anonymous bidder at the China Guardian auction house and Guo Tong, a spokesman for the establishment, said it highlights the value and increasing global prominence of modern Chinese art.

'Qi's paintings have not only affected numerous people inside China, but have won global respect,' he told the BBC.

Born in Hunan province in 1864, Qi was famous for painting natural scenes and his work has become some of the most expensive on the planet in recent years, largely due to the booming Chinese economy.

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