(CBN Global) March 28 -- A painting created by Chinese billionaire businessman Mr. Jack Ma in collaboration with leading artist Mr. Zeng Fanzhi has sold at auction for CNY34.69 million (USD5.33 million), catapulting the artwork into the top 10 most-expensive by living artists, according to the Hurun Art List 2016.
52-year-old Mr. Zeng, held a solo exhibition at the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris in February 2014. His total turnover last year amounted to CNY111.81 million (USD17.18 million), with 'Peach Garden' being the most expensive of his works.
Mr. Ma is more well-known as a business guru and the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA]. He once gave lectures to promote the importance of art education and has described his company as a work of art created by his employees and customers.
However, the price his painting reached has sparked some controversy in China. The auction has been named as one of the 'seven farces in the circle of arts in 2015' by Mr. Liang Kegang, curator of a private art museum, who has 150,000 followers on the popular Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo. "If Bill Gates invited David Hockney to do a painting for an auction, Gates would be lambasted in the business community, and Hockney would be strongly criticized in the circle of arts, and no one would dare to buy the painting at all," he said.
'Peach Garden' was sold at Sotheby's [NYSE:BID], one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine and decorative arts.
The Hurun Art List 2016 is produced by the Hurun Research Institute, best known for publishing the annual Hurun China Rich List, a ranking of the wealthiest individuals in China.