Ryoei Saito  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ryoei Saito (Saitō Ryōei) (April 17, 1916 – March 30, 1996) was the honorary chairman of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing, Japan.

He was noted for his purchase of expensive art like Portrait of Dr. Gachet amongst others.

Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet became famous on May 15, 1990, when Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito paid US$82.5 million for it at auction in Christie's New York, making it the most expensive painting in the world up to that time. Saito, the honorary chairman of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. and then 75 years old, caused a scandal when he said he would have the Van Gogh painting cremated with him after his death. He later said, "What I really wanted to [express] was my wish to preserve the paintings forever." Saito, his aides explained, was using a figure of speech, and his threatening to torch the masterpiece was just an expression of intense affection for it. Later he said he would consider giving the paintings to his government or a museum. After his death in 1996, the exact location and ownership of the portrait had been shrouded in mystery. In early 2007, however, reports[1] surfaced that the painting had been sold a decade earlier by Saito or his estate to the Austrian-born investment fund manager Wolfgang Flöttl. Flöttl, in turn, had reportedly been forced by financial reversals to sell the painting to parties as yet unknown.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ryoei Saito" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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