ART COLLECTING: Where a Sunny Van Gogh Went

Where a Sunny Van Gogh Went

Who paid $39.9 million for Sunflowers? Less than two weeks after an anonymous telephone bidder set an art-world record at Christie's London auction house by buying the faded Van Gogh masterpiece, the mysterious party has come forward: Tokyo-based Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance. Japan's second largest insurance company bought the work, which was completed in January 1889, to help celebrate its centenary next year.

On that account, the Tokyo firm spent about 1% of its fiscal 1985 revenues for the painting, known in Japanese as Himawari. Starting early next year, Yasuda hopes to send the work on a tour of several...

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