Magazine article The New Yorker

WANNA BUY A PICASSO?; MANHUNT DEPT. Series: 5/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

WANNA BUY A PICASSO?; MANHUNT DEPT. Series: 5/5

Article excerpt

Last month at Sotheby's, Picasso's "Dora Maar with Cat" was purchased for ninety-five million dollars by an unidentified Russian man. The art world and the press immediately started speculating about the buyer's identity, and within a few days the Post announced that the mystery man was Roustam Tariko, a forty-four-year-old Russian banking and vodka tycoon. Tariko insists that the Post has the wrong guy. "Not me," he said last week, on the telephone from Miami, where he was attending a business conference. "Art dealers want Russian money, are now calling, calling, asking me to buy paintings. Forbes just named me most eligible billionaire bachelor in world. Everybody now after Russians. But I do not invest in paintings. Some of the people who do--in real estate, in oil, in fertilizer--are boring, boring, boring."

Tariko said that he read about the Sotheby's auction on his computer, while he was in his plane, a Boeing Business Jet ("Same plane developed for Jack Welch"), en route from Moscow to address an American Express conference in Santa Barbara. …

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