Israeli businessman Sami Ofer is apparently the man behind the recent purchase of a Van Gogh portrait for USD 40.3 million, the New York Times and the British Independent newspapers estimated.
A mysterious buyer purchased the painting by phone Tuesday evening at a Christie's auction.
The 1890 painting, "L'Arlesienne, Madame Ginoux," is a portrait of one of the most recognizable figures in the history of art, Madame Ginoux, who was the owner of Café de la Gare in Arles, France. Vincent Van Gogh used to visit the café until he committed suicide, and Ginoux's portrait was painted both by him and Paul Gauguin.
Speculators outside the auction house estimated that the mysterious buyer was none other than Sami Ofer. Franck Giraud, a Manhattan dealer, told the New York Times that the price the buyer paid "was a bargain."
According to estimations, the painting is worth USD 40 to 50 million.
Meanwhile, a Picasso painting was sold at a Sotheby's auction for USD 95 million. Out of the 50 painting on sale at the auction, 43 paintings were sold for a total of USD 180.2 million.