Painting By Alibaba's Unconventional Chairman Jack Ma Fetches $5.4 Million at Auction

Painting By Alibaba's Unconventional Chairman Jack Ma Fetches $5.4 Million at Auction

Zeng Fanzhi and Jack Ma

Image credit: Sotheby's
  • ---Shares

Unlike many right brain-leaning leaders, Jack Ma -- China’s second-richest man who serves as executive chairman of tech giant Alibaba -- isn’t afraid to tap into his artistic side.

And when he’s not brandishing a microphone and spangled silver jacket to belt out tunes in front of Alibaba employees, the unconventional founder also moonlights as a painter -- and a rather successful one at that.

Yesterday, one of Ma’s paintings fetched $5.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction -- 21 times above above its expected price, according to The Wall Street Journal. The buyer was Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist Qian Fenglei.

Related: Who Knew? Charismatic Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Moonlights as a Singer (Video)

The work, entitled ‘Paradise,’ is a painting of the earth as it appears from space executed on a round canvas, which Ma created in collaboration with the popular Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi. They covered the canvas in paint, dotted it with additional coatings, and then used a scraper to give the work depth. All proceeds will go to Paradise International Foundation -- an environmental non-profit founded by Ma, Fanzhi and other Chinese philanthropists.

“This is my first time to paint, and I feel very good,” Ma told Sotheby’s of the work, which was created in 2014 -- though in 2013, Ma sold an ink drawing on Alibaba’s ecommerce platform for roughly $380,000, whose proceeds were also donated to charity.

Environmental issues are clearly close to his heart: Earlier this year, Ma purchased a $23 million property in New York’s Adirondacks Mountains for conservational purposes that he also plans to use as a personal retreat. 

Related: Why Alibaba's Jack Ma Sees Himself as an 'Artist,' and Maybe You Should, Too

Edition: July 2017

Get the Magazine

Limited-Time Offer: 1 Year Print + Digital Edition and 2 Gifts only $9.99
Subscribe Now
OK

This website uses cookies to allow us to see how our website and related online services are being used. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our cookie collection. More information about how we collect cookies is found here.