Wang Jianlin chairs the commercial real-estate development company Dalian Wanda Group, which has over 260 properties in China. In 2018, the company sold its stake in the Spanish soccer club Atletico de Madrid; later that year, it sold its $600 million stake in the movie theater chain AMC Theatres. (In 2020, with the coronavirus sweeping the world, suspicion arose that AMC was nearing bankruptcy. Dalian denied this.) The company also owns more than $1.5 billion in art. Initially focused on work by Chinese modern and contemporary artists like Wu Guangzhong and Shi Qi, Wang, who was named as Asia’s second-richest man in 2016 by Bloomberg, has begun to buy Western art in recent years.
Wang’s first major purchase of a work by a non-Chinese artist was Picasso’s Claude et Paloma (1950), which he bought at auction in 2013. Since then, according to friend and fellow collector Guo Quingxiang, who oversees the Wanda Group’s art collection, Wang and his company have been devoted to “collecting original and important works representative of key developments in art history,” regardless of where or when those “key developments” happened. Working closely with Qingxiang, Wang has nabbed Monet’s Bassin aux nymphéas, les rosiers (1913) for $20 million, among other masterpieces. An eye for the market also runs in Qingxiang’s family: his 17-year-old son, Carson, made headlines earlier this year when he purchased all 248 skateboard decks by streetwear brand Supreme in one fell swoop for $800,000 at Sotheby’s. Wang also owns the American film studio Legendary Entertainment, and his net worth is reportedly around $13.9 billion, as of October 2020. When asked by reporter Tom Spender what he does with his free time, Wang responded, “I don’t have any free time!”