Gauguin's Tahitian painting 'Nafea faa ipoipo' goes on display in Madrid

Museum workers hang Paul Gaugin's "Nafea faa ipoipo" (When will you marry).
Museum workers hang Paul Gaugin's "Nafea faa ipoipo" (When will you marry).REUTERS

MADRID (REUTERS) - French post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin's "Nafea faa ipoipo" (When Will You Marry?) painting, reportedly the most expensive painting ever sold, went on display at Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum on Friday.

The 1892 oil painting of two Tahitian girls was sold earlier this year by the Rudolf Staechelin Family Trust.

The New York Times, citing art world sources, said a Qatari buyer had paid around US$300 million (S$400 million) for the work.

Paul Cezanne's "The Card Players" was previously ranked as the most expensive painting ever sold, with a reported price tag of US$250 million.

On Friday Ruedi Staechelin, an art collector and spokesman for the trust, spoke at the unveiling of "Nafea faa ipoipo" at the Madrid museum, where it is on loan, but declined to reveal the price.

"This is not the most valuable painting in this museum. I think Guernica is definitely worth more than this painting, so stop this hype, look at these paintings," he said, referring to Pablo Picasso's famous epic painting from the Spanish Civil War.

"It is not the amount of dollars hanging here. There are wonderful paintings here... They might not have the same market price but this is art, it is not an investment."

The Gauguin painting was previously on display in Basel.

In Madrid, it joins some 60 other artworks at an exhibition running until mid-September.

"It is one of the paintings Gauguin made when he went to Tahiti for the first time," Staechelin said.

"It was a happy painting."