Art collector, Chairman, Green Pigeon Corporation
Zong Wei Xu sees art collecting as a learning journey, albeit an expensive one
Art collector Zong Wei Xu set an auction record in 2009 when he sold “17.4.64”, a 1964 painting by Chinese abstract painter Wou Ki Zao for NT$158.4 million, the artist’s highest price at the time. Xu had purchased the work for NT$11 million (by 2019, Zao would outsell Van Gogh and Andy Warhol). Making a profit is not the motive behind his collecting process—“I ultimately want to find the freedom of insight through collecting,” he once said. Xu made his first important purchase in 1993 in the process of decorating his home. “The Raft in the Canyon” by Kiren Li immersed him into the world of art collecting, and almost three decades later it is the piece that has stayed with Xu. He continues to refine his collection by focusing on the works of masters in the field of calligraphy and oil paintings from artists with a particular East-West aesthetic, such as that of Wou Ki Zao and Dequn Zhu.
Did You Know?
It took Zong Wei Xu less than three minutes of viewing “17.4.64” before he decided to buy the painting at an auction in 2001. At Christie’s in 2007, he expected to sell it for at least HK$14 million, but when it only reached the lowest estimate of HK$9 million, Xu decided to buy the work back—at HK$11 million.