Alibaba's Jack Ma Debuts in Hong Kong Auction -- as an Artist

  • Jack Ma and Zeng Fanzhi collaborated on painting of Earth
  • Painting could raise as much as HK$2.5 million for charity

A painting created by Jack Ma and Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi that will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on Sunday could fetch as much as HK$2.5 million ($322,000) for charity, according to the auction house.

The oil on canvas painting executed in 2014 depicts planet Earth and is titled "Paradise." Ma and Zeng teamed up on the art piece to raise awareness of environmental protection, according to the Sotheby’s catalog.

Zeng Fanzhi and Jack Ma in front of Paradise.

Source: Sotheby's

"This is the first time I’ve painted, and to have been able to do it with Fanzhi -- I am deeply honored," Ma, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said in the catalog. "Together we have created an earth: to protect the earth, to protect the oceans, to protect the air," he said.

Zeng is one of China’s pre-eminent contemporary artists, whose painting "The Last Supper" set a record for an Asian living artist when it sold for $23.3 million at Sotheby’s in 2013.

The work will go on the block during the Modern and Contemporary Asian Evening Art Sale as part of Sotheby’s five-day fall sales from Oct. 2 to Oct. 7 where wine, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, watches and art will be auctioned at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The sales kick off on Saturday with wine auctions where the top lot is a three-liter jeroboam of Romanee-Conti Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 2006 from Burgundy with an estimate of HK$280,000-HK$400,000.

Ma is China’s second-richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Proceeds from the sale will go to Paradise International Foundation, a non-profit environmental conservation organization founded by Chinese philanthropists and conservationists, according to Sotheby’s website.

For more, read this QuickTake: Jack Ma

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